Film Review: “The Clan” (2015) ★★★★★


It’s impossible to imagine how one man can take his entire family to enter a criminal path without having any sense of regret. Moreover, every member of his family not only follows him, but also closely participates with him as in cooking a delicious dinner or to play a fun game. Unfortunately, what the Puccio family does is far from enjoyment; they kidnap people, take ransom and kill them. But wait a second, it’s not just a story taken from some novel which had been adapted onto our silver screen. THE CLAN (original title EL CLAN) is based on a true story that took place a few years ago, before Argentina returned to democracy after a period of monstrous dictatorship.

The Puccios are a model family. They play together. They care about each other. They even cook together. Before they start eating their evening meal, they pray as good religious catholic family should. But there is sound coming from the basement, where a man is begging to be released, or a woman sobbing for her life. Yet they can’t destroy the atmosphere that unites this family. Yes, this family has a very important business to run, which brings millions of dollars in a night. Despite the whole world turning upside down, nothing will stop them from committing their crime, because it is the only thing that keeps this family together.

I honestly found it difficult to digest the storyline of the film. It’s painful to follow and watch the family enjoy every minute of the dreadful things they do. Alejandro Puccio seems not to agree with his father’s activities, but he does not stop the father from kidnapping his rich friend, Ricardo Manoukian, who would be killed later. The murder makes Alejandro feel guilty, because he had no idea that his father intended to kill Ricardo. For want of money and riches, the cold-blooded and tyrannical father Arquimedes Puccio continues the kidnapping and kills the hostages until one day when everything starts falling apart….

The most amazing scene I’ve seen in a while was when the camera stops on Arquimedes Puccio who, with gentle care, massages his wife’s back while she prepares dinner. His kids are busy with their daily life in the two-storeyed house; one watches TV, another is doing homework, while the camera follows Arquimedes carry a tray with food. He passes one room after another to announce to his children that dinner is served, and then he goes downstairs, where his first victim Manoukian gets his last dinner. These scenes depict the atmosphere of delight which the family gets from their “family business,” and will leave you stunned.

I’ve seen a few actors who enjoyed playing villain, but Guillermo Francella beats all of them. One look of his is enough to freeze your blood and shrink your heart. Francella delivers a remarkably subtle performance that makes you detest his character even more. This, of course, would not happen without a brilliant screenplay written by Pablo Trapero, Esteban Student and Julian Loyola, who seem to have given them enough space to improvise. The credit must also go to the filmmaker, Pablo Trapero, who delivers a terrific thriller that you will talk about long after you finish watching the film.

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