The Clan (2015)
User ReviewsReview this title
The movie has a superb 80's atmosphere in every detail, from cars, clothes, phones, music (the music in this film is awesome!).
Regarding the story -which was true- the movie helped me understand much better the events and to correlate how Puccio got to that situation.
I really recommend this movie and I hope you have the opportunity to see it.
Acclaimed Argentinean director Pablo Trapero (Carancho, 2010) gives us a look at the Puccio crime family, and in the process draws parallels between the political turmoil and re-structuring of Argentina as it returned to a democracy in the early 1980's.
The façade of the happy family makes for perfect public cover as horrendous crimes are perpetuated often in the basement of the family home. Arquimedes (Guillermo Francella, The Secret in Their Eyes 2009) is the father who often seizes on the celebrity of his rugby star son Alex/Alejandro (Peter Lanzani) to catch their victims off-guard. The family Modus Operandi is pretty simple: kidnap-collect ransom- kill. Arquimedes was known for his hospitality, often offering home-cooked meals to the victims as they were chained in the family basement. Quite a contrast to the brutality involved in the crimes.
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.
As Argentina's Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language film, it didn't make the final cut, but it's absolutely at the level of the five nominated films. Fans of Scorcese and Coppola crime films will see the influences, and the film rates with such crime gems as A Prophet (2009) and Animal Kingdom (2010).
This is true story of the Puccio Clan, a model evil family , but their tale results to be a perverse stew of lies , violence , kidnapping , murders, pronounced bloodshed, sentimental blood bonding , and with a surprising ending . As an upright family -a model family whose well educated children have a promised and bright future- living their deep respectability , but is nothing but a smokescreen , being really a criminal group . The picture is plenty of thrills , intense drama , violence and thought-provoking issues . The main cast and support cast give magnificent interpretations . Here stands out Guillermo Francella who gives a masterful acting as the allegedly honest and dignified storekeeper by trade, who cares about his five children . As well as Peter Lanzani playing Alejandro Puccio , an admired rugby star .
The motion picture well well produced by EL Deseo S.A. : Agustin and Pedro Almodóvar and professionally directed by Pablo Trapero . His films have covered the most important festivals, receiving critical acclaim and awards . Trapero is one of the biggest creative forces in Latin American Cinema .He has sat on the main Festival juries at Venice, San Sebastian and Locarno, among others . In 2014 he served as President of Un Certain Regard in Cannes. In 2015 the Ministry of Culture of France awarded him Chevallier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, becoming the first south american director in receiving this honor. In 1999 Trapero directed his first feature, Mundo Grua, which won the Critics Prize at Venice. In 2002, he opened his production company, Matanza Cine, that produces films for fellow filmmakers, as well as his own. His second feature, El Bonaerense (2002) premiered at Cannes, Familia Rodante (2004) at Venice, and Nacido y Criado (2006) at Toronto. In 2008, Leonera, presented in Competition at Cannes, revealed the talent of Martina Gusman, muse, actress and producer of the cineaste. He returned to Cannes with Carancho (2010) and Elefante Blanco (2012), both in Un Certain Regard. Trapero is a good filmmaker , his best film was ¨Carancho¨, dealing with a slow burning exercise in moral decay and his usual actress results to be Martina Gosman who has worked in various film with him , such as : ¨Lion's den¨ , ¨Nacido y Criado¨ , ¨Carancho¨ and ¨Elefante Blanco¨ . This El Clan turns out to be a dramatic and provoking flick , an above average film and Argentina's official submission to Academy Award and it achieved several Prizes of the Argentinean Academy. With this his latest film, The Clan, he won the Silver Lion for Best Director in Venice International Film Festival . Indispensable and essential seeing for Guillermo Francella fans .
Sadly, the taut Argentine crime thriller,The Clan, looks as if it's been subtitled by a dyslexic alcoholic using Google translate. It was extremely frustrating. I was clearly watching a very well made film, based on real events, about a Mafiosa-style family engaged in kidnapping and extortion; this was at a time, the 1980s, when the government was up to similar tactics - many dissidents simply disappeared. Keeping Police and officials sweet, the family could act with near impunity.
Everything about the film - its story, pacing, acting, direction was top notch. But the constantly poor subtitling proved too great a distraction and detracted from the film itself.
I can recommend the film without hesitation to any fluent Spanish speakers among you.
First of all, I kept wondering why this professional and experienced kidnapper only kidnaps friends of his son. That is really obvious, he might as well turn himself in. Later(on wikipedia) I understood, that these were the first kidnappings of this kind. I assumed because he is so professional and cool about it, the whole thing seems very routine, no one in his family seems to mind, that he has done this sort of thing many times before. I understand now in retrospect that all these things come from his experience in the intelligence service. However, the movie never really explains that, although it is somewhat crucial for the story.
But there are still some things that don't make sense after reading about the actual story. Arquímedes says to Alex something like "my kidnappings always worked until you left". Well, at that point he previously only had kidnapped two people with Alex, which creates even further confusion when you talk about "always". Then Alex returns the lost son, Maguila, who had apparently left because of the killings. When he returns he immediately joins his fathers business, no questions asked. That doesn't make sense, considering his father only started the killings while he was abroad.
Who is Comodore? We understand that he must be some kind of government official who previously worked with Arquimedes? But then, why does he still have influence, I thought the regime has been overthrown.
Without knowing the story (or at least enough about Argentinian history from that time) before watching the film, it basically shows a serial killer at his day job. Kidnap, make ransom call, write letter, kill, next one please. Sort of boring. The actual story of a former regime officer who now works on his own and the resulting struggles with his surroundings are never properly introduced.
--Reception: -The film opened in Argentina on 13 August 2015 to generally positive reviews. It had the largest opening weekend of any Argentinean film in history, with a box office total of 32 million pesos and 505,000 tickets sold between opening Thursday and Sunday, representing 53% of all cinema-goers, seven times more than the second most viewed film, Ted 2. This surpassed the previous record of the 2014 film Wild Tales. According to BBC News, 1.5 million people saw the film in its first two weeks of release.
-The film was screened at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival in September 2015. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter singled out the arresting sound track in their reviews; Variety called the choice of music "among the film's most unnerving strategies, reminiscent of Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, in which celebratory pop tunes evoke the era even as they practically serve to encourage the horrors depicted on screen"; The Hollywood Reporter noted that the "loud, upbeat songs ... provide a counterpoint ... (suggesting) how kidnapping became simply a part of life for the Puccios. It's never clearer than in a daring montage sequence that matches Monica's cries of ecstasy during a bout of lovemaking with the cries for help of a kidnapping victim in the family's home. For these folks, there seems to be a mighty fine line between love and cruelty".
-The success of the film led to a TV series that is also focused on the Puccio family, Historia de un clan, starring Alejandro Awada.
It was the Argentina's entry to the last year's Oscars. That's really a worst decision ever. Also it the highest grossed film in the domestic circuit. No doubt the film was well made, especially the director who also managed well with the screenplay. This film can be watched to know the truth and nothing else, because of the negative message it carries. Nearly 100 minutes long, full of dark atmosphere, but among it there was a little romance. The actors did good, despite they were in the negative roles.
There are plenty of films with the dark tone, which are very enjoyable despite the film characters involved in the wrongful acts. Sometimes we root for them, it might be a robbery or a revenge theme. But there comes a time when I hesitate to encourage such films, mainly because of its serious portrayal. Makes me to think only sick people would enjoy such films. It happened recently for a Chilean film 'The Club' that I felt disgust.
I appreciate the filmmaking, but I feel this better should have been a documentary film. Anyway, that's my view. It was one side narration, covered everything from the family angle. But if it was told how the cops or the victim families coped would have made totally a different film. Then I might have liked it. So overall this film was okay, I'm not in its favor though.
I'm surprised that no one in the neighborhood recognized them or at least the director would have told us that people were asking him or at least telling us that they never released anyone, because when they kill the first, the film raises it as if it had been The first to be killed. Nobody wonders, because people take them on a hitchhiking two blocks from home? Everything in the script is strange, caught with pins. The family is very normal, I do not know if they study at home or at school, for a moment I raise it but I do not know, but no one ever finds out about anything, or is it not even the girls are afraid to see that in the Basement people are screaming all day?
That if I surrender to the feet of how it has made the plane of the fall of the son in the court, it is fantastically done. Not so the sequence plans of the rest, which I think are of no use and many are left over.
The soundtrack bother me, when they are going to commit the kidnappings, the music is partying, I do not understand it, I do not know why it is not music of tension or intrigue, as if they were partying.
I remembered a lot of The Godfather and that does not seem to me a great movie, but at least it has a photo and a brutal atmosphere and it is neither one nor the other. I think he has no rhythm and no pretty plans. If you see that it is the time that it is, art, makeup and hairdressing are fine. But it stays there.
The movie was confusing, too. I had hoped to be given some context of the political scene in Argentina in which this crime arose, but we were plunged right into the thick of things via a series of flashbacks and disconnected scenes which we were expected to piece together (while madly reading subtitles, for those of us who don't speak Spanish). Only near the end do we discover, casually, that Puccio was connected to the Intelligence services, and his history with them is never fully explained.
I felt relieved when the movie drew to a close and the perpetrators were caught. It was at this point that Puccio revealed his truly revolting narcissism and manipulativeness. I had felt repelled by him throughout, but by the end I just felt glad to be shot of him and his whole morally dubious family.
Decent, though not compelling, docudrama. Details well the events involved and these make for interesting following. However, not overly compelling viewing. Is pretty much a blow-by-blow account and feels quite dry at times.
Not a must-see, but not a total waste of time either.
His middle son was Alex who was a rising star in Rugby Union and his eldest brother had already done the same but had side stepped the family and escaped to New Zealand. However many hands do make light work and so Arquimedes went out of his way to ensure as many of the Clan as possible were 'hands on'.
Now this is based on a real story and it is quite amazing that a modern country could allow such atrocities to take place – but that is the way of the World with criminals everywhere. The film itself is Argentina's biggest earner ever and you can see why. The acting is all great as is the period detail. It jumps around from past to present etc but that is easy to follow. There are some upsetting scenes but the nasty stuff is mostly played down. This is a film that you may get more from on a second viewing but either way it is most certainly worth seeing at least once.