Today: July 22, 2024

Carancho

As an “Ambulance chaser” in The Verdict, Paul Newman was something of a lazy freeloader looking for an easy score to settle his debts.

As an “Ambulance chaser”
in The Verdict, Paul Newman was something of a lazy freeloader looking for an
easy score to settle his debts
. In Pablo
Trapero
’s Carancho, the same villainous people who exploit
the victims afflicted by some awful tragedy, lurk round every corner. Lujan is
a desperate trainee doctor who responds to violent crash accidents – she is a
drug-addict as opposed to a drunk – who meets a disbarred lawyer, Sosa, who is
filtering between insurance companies and crash victims to extort cash from
both. He is a ‘vulture’, or carancho as the translation goes.

Carancho follows
in the line of many nihilistic South American dramas that depict some of the
many darkest realms of an un-policed underworld that lie within certain
communities. As can sometimes be the case, films of this ilk can be uninvolving
as a result of a lack of the human element or characters that are in any way
sympathetic. Carancho on the other
hand attempts to instil a love story so that the audience can navigate their
way through the hectic socio-realist style. The relationship between Lujan and
Sosa is acted out through mannerisms, glances and small talk, a pleasant
respite from all the grit and depression.

Trapero’s attempts to mesh the various elements of
love-story and hyper-reality with that of an action thriller structure aren’t
wholly successful though.
Something misfires and you are left wanting more of the relationship
focus that the film all too fleetingly exhibits. Of course Sosa and Lujan have
their own demons and attempt to find a path to redemption. Perhaps if Trapero
had left them as doomed souls as opposed to conjuring a plot line for Sosa to
act as the atypical hero the whole film would have felt more convincing.

A lot of what goes on in Carancho has been done
before, think of the intense crash sequences of Amores Perros and the
redemptive cycle of a film such as Heat and you’re somewhere in the vicinity of
this film. Take it or leave it, Carancho has some elements that work and some
that don’t, but in its visceral set-pieces you’ll find enough to pleasure the
senses.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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