The sexual abuse cases in the church nowadays is not a big surprise. Perhaps, it’s been there forever, until the moment when someone decided to bring it up to society the church’s dark secret. Pablo Larrain’s The Club (El Club, the original title) revolves around Sandokan, a mentally sick man whose soul was kidnapped by those, who called themselves Messenger of God. After an incident that occurs in a small Chilean beach town, a crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to resolve the issue and investigate the matter of child abuse and baby-snatching from unwed mothers.
Film begins with Padre Vidal, who plays with his greyhound dog on the beach, while caring nun, Sister Monica, looks after an aged and incapable of looking after himself priest. The calm atmosphere of the film quickly changes, when psychologically harmed Sandokan interferes the idyllic life of four priests, whom he accuses of sexual assault, and demands answers. Lost and astonished, the men don’t know how to calm down Sandokan, while Padre Mathias, who apparently was close with Sandokan, finds the best solution possible.
Knowing nothing about what to say and what to do, Padre Mathias takes his gun, goes outside of the church, and sends the bullet right to his head. The terrible incident brings young crisis counselor, Padre Garcia to look into the matter, but shortly after, you find out that the men and the nun were already in the radar of the Catholic Church due to their suspicious activities related to homosexuality and sexual abuse. Since Padre Garcia’s duty is to investigate child molestation in the Church, he quickly finds out that those people around him are nothing more and less, but criminals. However, the event occurring soon after is something that even Padre Garcia won’t be able to handle, until he comes up with a radical idea…
The Club is one of those films that should have been made a long time ago. In spite this not having the “Spotlight” type of ending, it offers an insight of people who present themselves as a servant of God, who penetrate into the soul of their victim, and take every hope they had before they enter the Church. However, what filmmaker does here is give penance to those who did not deserve to have one. However, you feel it important to be in the film, as you head towards the end. The Club is more like the jail that locks inside those people you would feel disgusted to see out in the town. From the beginning to the end, in The Club you see nothing but superbly written, directed film with an extraordinary performance by the cast, whose characters you wish would never exist in a movie nor in real life.
THE CLUB OPENS IN TORONTO
FEBRUARY 19, 2016 at TIFF BELL LIGHT BOX