Thursday, April 7, 2011


Argentina is rotting from within, thanks both to a seeming epidemic of car accidents and a shadow industry of insurance fraud. Two desperate souls manage to connect in this sad, sordid world: Sosa, a disgraced lawyer reduced to chasing ambulances on behalf of a greedy company; and Lujan, an ambitious but drug-addicted EMT he meets at the scene of an accident. Though Lujan is initially disgusted by Sosa's profession, the bond between them remains undeniable. And when Sosa launches a scheme to free himself from his shadowy employers, both lovers find themselves on the firing line.

CARANCHO is a beautifully executed Argentinean noir, with director Pablo Trapero finding just the right mix of grit and restraint. Stylistically there's little to root CARANCHO among its noir forbears; as powerful as Trapero's long takes and command of atmosphere are, his style doesn't distract from the immediacy of his story (Alfonso Cuaron could learn much from studying Trapero's economy). Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman lead a uniformly strong cast, which adds to the film's realism and the impact of its story. CARANCHO is informed by very real despair, and cuts deeper than most other noir.

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