Bluray Review – The Clan (2015)

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Argentina, early 80’s, this is a true story. A country trying to get to its feet after a brutal military government and an infamous war. A by product of all of that is Arquimides Puccio. He’s well connected, a respected businessman, a religious man, a family man. He also has a side business, Kidnapping for ransom

There are some sequences in here that are really, really good, and then there are sequences around those that are fairly biopic generic. The ending is handled pretty crazily and worked with the tone that they had established, but I’m not entirely sure that the tone did work. It’s gruesome stuff we’re dealing with and it’s all played to upbeat pop songs. Makes for something very interesting.

This brilliant movie is not a conventional crime thriller, it also explores the psychological illness of all the members in this family caused by the oppressing voice of Puccio’s patriarchy. The film raises many questions, and makes us wonder where the line of guilt is drawn between committing a crime, and simply looking the other way. It’s presented as if Alex felt compelled to support his father’s endeavors even though it caused major internal struggles for him. Certainly the mother/wife (an excellent Lili Popovich) made the conscious decision to do what was necessary. It’s especially unsettling to see Arquimedes helping his daughter with her school work, while the most recent victim is shackled in the cellar.

The narrative of the story begins by the end, and so it goes interchanging present and future, until they collide in a sublime climax when all the feelings and thoughts of the children explode. Each one of the characters, even though they were real, are so astoundingly designed that you can feel the hate of the father; the indifference of the mother; the rage, the fear and even the love of the children. This is also a portrait of the post-dictatorship era as a fictional interpretation of the feelings of an old retired military, his new war, and his new army: his family

The disc boasts a stunning 1080p transfer which really pops and helps bring Argentina to life. Special features include a 15-minute making of that includes talking heads from all of the key players mixed with footage from behind the scenes. Interesting to find that for a few of the actors, it was their first time in front of the camera. It also includes longer interviews with the director and some of the cast and it’s good to see that there is no overlap between these and the making of, they are very different. A trailer rounds off the disc.

Tense, cold-blooded and sometimes tragically comic, Trapero keeps getting better every time he gets behind the camera. Lots of great tracking shots, a nice rock and roll soundtrack and an absolutely shocking ending. Check it out.

Peter Fletcher

Crime, Drama | Argentina, 2015 | 15 | Curzon Artificial Eye | 17th October 2016 (UK) | Dir.Pablo Trapero | Guillermo Francella, Peter Lanzani, Antonia Bengoechea, Gastón Cocchiarale, Stefanía Koessl |Buy: [Blu-ray]