Film Reviews, News & Competitions



The Club

Film Information

Plot: A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.
Release Date: 25th March 2016
Director(s): Pablo Larraín
Cast: Roberto Farías, Antonia Zegers, Alfredo Castro
BBFC Certificate: 18
Running Time: 97 mins
Country Of Origin: Chile
Language: Spanish
Review By: Samuel John Hall
Film Genre:
Film Rating


Bottom Line

A tour de force littered with restraint and precision. Pablo Larraín lures his audience into a false sense of security before venomously revealing his true colours. A film that examines abuse within the Catholic church and it's generational effects with such confidence and precision it's arresting. A gem of a film, if hauntingly viscous.

Posted March 9, 2016 by

Film Review

Despite having only made a handful of features, Pablo Larraín is widely regarded as Chile’s most adored living filmmaker (and quite possibly of all time). It’s clear why, with such a diverse and striking filmography – from the zany and charming Saturday Night Fever-inspired Tony Manero (2008) to the darkly funny and heartfelt socio-political No (2012) – he’s steadily built a reputation as a cinematic voice to be reckoned with. It’s his uncompromisingly honest yet subtle approach to his themes and characters that makes his filmmaking so engaging and refreshing; especially given the current cinematic landscape. Rather than thrust ideas in his audience’s face, he lets them linger and develop of their own accord, building a resonance within you. You experience his films in a collaborative way – engaging with themes that you yourself find and tussle with. This isn’t escapism, in fact the opposite.

His latest offering, The Club (2015) is a masterclass in restraint: a slow-burning, pensive contemplation on faith, its institutionalisation and ultimate hypocrisy. It’s won plaudits the world over, including being awarded last year’s coveted Silver Bear in Berlin. It would ruin the experience to discuss in detail the film’s plot or characters, just believe that here you will find a truly startling, abrasive, poignant and darkly funny film that aims to pose nothing more than one simple question. One you will have to reach on your own.

With the upcoming biopics Neruda (with sometime collaborator Gael Garcia Bernal playing an inspector who hunts down the titular Chilean communist poet) and Jackie (with Natalie Portman as the First Lady), Larraín should go from strength to strength, further demonstrating his peerless magnetism and craft. He’s a persuasive filmmaker, one who’s aesthetic, tone and reserved veneer will serve him well in years to come. It’s unclear how his first forays into the English language will effect his skill or stature, but one thing is clear for now: go see The Club, you’d struggle to be disappointed.

Sammy Hall



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