Sunday, 4 March 2012

Carancho, dir. Pablo Trapero, wr. Alejandro Fadel, Martín Mauregui, Santiago Mitre, Pablo Trapero, st. Ricardo Darín, Martina Gusmán

Trapero's Carancho could be seen as the violent, aggressive twin of Atom Egoyan's 1997 film The Sweet Hereafter. Both feature venal, morally economic protagonists in the shape of ambulance-chasers - lawyers who turn up at the scene of accidents and try and persuade the victims to sue for compensation, in this film aptly named 'carancho' or 'vulture'. Our progressively bruised and battered anti-hero is named Sosa, charismatically played by the craggy-faced Darin, regularly beaten up by goons employed by The Foundation, a crooked organisation Sosa also works for, and to whom he owes money. As in all good Noirs, into his life comes Luján, a warm-spirited and hard-working paramedic, and so begins the pair's descending spiral into corruption and deception. Watching the pair attempt to furiously claw themselves out of this fatalistic hole is sustained by the couple's low-key yet persuasive romance. By the time the finale comes around (that recalls something of the sentimentality of Luc Besson's Léon infused with the orchestrated pyrotechnics of Michael Mann's Heat) you'll be desperately rooting for Sosa to get away with the girl and the money and moral karma be damned. The wonderfully effective absence of score that grounds this film in a murky realism only serves to highlight one of the ways Carancho will be clumsily augmented come the inevitable US remake.