The Clan Screen 14 articles

The Clan

2015

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  • Trapero merely adds a sheen of sub-Scorsesean hustle, slithering camera movements and ostentatious needle-drops and all... In sharp contrast to the film’s noise is the chilly reserve of Francella, a popular Argentine comedian who invests Puccio with a sense of avuncular manipulation key to fathers as well as businessmen. His performance, along with the real story, deserves a more searching film.

  • The parallels are drawn so bluntly, through intrusive archival news footage, that they lose all suggestive force, since there's little left to suggest. Characters aren't so much plumbed for human insight as they are strictly, flatly defined by their role within the criminal mechanism.

  • Sight & Sound: Jonathan Romney
    October 02, 2015 | Venice | November 2015 Issue (pp. 18-19)

    Trapero has never made a bad film, but his career has reached the point at which his inclusion in a competition has a sort of meat-and-potatoes predictability. The Clan is an involving true-crime thrille set in the Galtieri years, about a family that runs a clandestine kidnapping racket; but its tensions, ironies and political resonances are awkwardly undermined by a faux-Scorsesean pop soundtrack. It's not bad, but mould-breaking direction isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

  • Lively enough, but the political edge is blunted - esp. since the Clan carry on kidnapping people even after the dictatorship they reflect/symbolise has fallen - and the jazzy surface makes it seem a bit callous, given the sad fates of everyone involved. Guillermo Francella's icy blue eyes are the main takeaway.

  • Trapero depicts the Puccios like a rather ordinary, even loving patriarchal family: Arquímedes was an accountant, his wife a teacher, the children were normal students, and the family owned a bar and a sportswear shop. The film shows that family life was warm and peaceful, even if the cries of the victims kept in the basement could be heard throughout the house. As such, The Clan is deadly cold, profoundly ambiguous, and quietly realistic.

  • ...Things didn’t improve much when the Best Director Silver Lion went to Pablo Trapero for his efficient true-crime drama The Clan, about a Buenos Aires family in the Eighties that made its living from kidnapping. As a genre film for people who hate genre cinema, it’s totally fine and its story is certainly fascinating.

  • Swift, confident, and exceptionally nasty, this Argentine film bears roughly the same relationship to the Martin Scorsese of “Goodfellas” that Brian De Palma does to, well, all of Hitchcock... They are good actors, and the story makes for a gripping thriller, but the comparison with Scorsese doesn’t do director Pablo Trapero many favors. Unlike “GoodFellas,” these real-life ironies feel facile.

  • True crime yarn from Pablo Trapero that is a lot better at suggesting poisonous family ties than to justify its more political ambitions. This has enough details on the nuts and bolts of the titular family kidnapping and murder operation and a couple of very strong central performances. It is rather absorbing throughout, even if at this point Trapero has progressed to become too slick a filmmaker to let this registers as strong as it should.

  • An effective if derivative Argentinian political drama/gangster film heavily influenced by Scorsese’s Goodfellas.

  • Trapero’s earlier films have always been pulled off with a certain muscularity and verve – but there’s such an irresistible, black-hearted swagger to his latest that Martin Scorsese would immediately recognise a kindred spirit. Effortless tracking shots, spasms of sickening violence and a perfectly pitched jukebox soundtrack are all conspicuously and stylishly deployed, sometimes all at once

  • The vision of [the patriarch's] wife and children putting up with a screaming kidnap victim under their own roof yields a ready-made allegory for the entanglement of coercion and complicity enforced by a military dictatorship. But it’s also quite satisfying as a dramatic, digestible thriller, laced with dread.

  • When Arquímedes gets pushed to breaking point, his fury is enough to freeze-dry Alex’s blood. In its own semi-anarchic way, The Clan packs a psycho-political punch… Trapero doesn’t structure his film as a series of investigative queries (in the manner of the late, great Francesco Rosi); he merely begs the questions. But The Clan does succeed at taking lethal aim at two global sacred cows: the sanctity of blood ties and the myth of “family values.”

  • Trust the festival hype and know that The Clan, though it occupies itself with the motives of criminals rather than victims, is not lacking in moral complexity. Rather, Trapero reveals the ways in which truth can be much stranger, more tragic and confused, than fiction.

  • What is perhaps most extraordinary about the film is that it offers few of White Elephant’s psychological insights to help us understand the protagonists’ actions. In Francella’s impressive performance, Arquímedes’s creepily composed expression gives nothing away.

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