In association with The Clan
The cold and dreary release slate of January and Februrary has passed, as have the superhero-swollen summer blockbusters, and now all you want is a pulse-quickening, expertly-acted piece of drama to tempt you back into the cinema and into purchasing another extra large box of popcorn, right?
Well, if you count filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Pedro Almodóvar among your favourites then you've come to the right place. The Clan (in cinemas 16 September, and produced by Almodóvar) is one of the best films of the year and here's why it ought to be firmly on your radar.
It's not your ordinary crime drama
Based on the horrifying real life story of the Puccio family, whose members, led by patriarch Arquímedes, kidnapped and murdered wealthy Argentines for ransom in the early eighties, Pablo Trapero’s film paints an unnerving picture of this criminal rabble. Once seen as bastions of the local community, even today there remains doubt over how much Arquímedes’ wife, two daughters and three sons really knew of the crimes. Doesn’t sound outlandish enough of a story for you? One of the sons, Alejandro, was a famous rugby player too.
You’ll learn a lot too
Thrusting us into the early eighties with rolling news footage announcing the end of Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli’s dictatorship – he oversaw the torture and executions of thousands of left wing radicals (in fact Arquímedes was believed to have helped the secret service kidnap people during this ‘Dirty War’) – The Clan also provides a fascinating snapshot of a country on the mend, given an almost documentary-like edge similar to how 2012’s No, seen through the eyes of Gael Garcia Bernal’s ad man, captured the unrest during the Pinochet years in late-eighties Chile.
It comes critically-acclaimed
You know the film: poster encumbered with so many laurels from obscure worldwide festivals it’s any wonder it doesn’t fall to the floor; the one your mate recommends because he read about it in the broadsheets – OK, this is one of those, but it is genuinely worth the hype. Don’t just take our word for it: The New York Times calls it “terrifically enjoyable”, The Telegraph hails it as “audaciously entertaining”, while Variety say it’s filmed with “propulsive immediacy and virtuoso flair”.
The Argentine New Wave is here
We’ve come a long way since Madonna butchered her way through Evita alongside Antonio Banderas. Over the last few years we've been treated to some exceptionally hard-hitting cinema in this part of the world: 2009's Oscar-winning The Secret in Their Eyes, the following year’s indie smash Carancho/Vulture, featuring a career-best turn from Ricardo Darin as the ambulance-chasing lawyer, Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales which wowed audiences last year. And The Clan? A film which broke box office records upon its domestic release? Why it ranks amongst the best yet.
Guillermo Francella’s performance is nothing short of electrifying
If you thought Johnny Depp’s manically authentic and pale-faced portrayal of Whitey Bulger scared the bejesus out of you, wait for the quiet terror unleashed by Guillermo Francella as the homicidal patriarch here. You may know him best from The Secret in Their Eyes, but the man’s a master actor and he’s laid down a performance for the ages with this film.
A Scorsesean soundtrack
Much has already been written of the similarities between Trapero’s work and early Scorsese, and you'll find yourself nodding in agreement once you've enjoyed its roaring soundtrack. Matching the swagger on screen, Trapero interjects a percussion-heavy score with bursts of classic rock to great effect, often when you least expect it. One heart-pounding scene, going from the light vibe of The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon into a dramatic heart-pounding set piece, muffled shouting and screeching tyres, will live long in the memory.
The Clan is in cinemas and Curzon Home Cinema from 16 September. Book tickets and discover more here