film · film review

The Clan (TIFF 2015 Film Review)

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Guillermo Francella & Peter Lanzani as Arquimedes & Alejandro Puccio.

The Clan is and Argentine film that tells the true story of the Puccio clan, a family who kidnapped and killed people for ransom in Argentina during the 1980’s. The Clan is fast paced and captivating from start to finish.

The Clan brings forward a piece of recent history that is relatively unknown to most people outside of Argentina. It is almost hard to believe that the events that take place throughout this story were all too real.

Guillermo Francella delivers a chilling performance as Arquimedes Puccio, the man at the head of the Puccio family. Arquimedes is a very manipulative character as he repeatedly convinces members of his family to participate in the kidnappings despite their personal doubts. It is hard to believe that Guillermo Francella is known for his work in comedic and upbeat performances in the majority of his films as his performance in The Clan was the complete opposite.

Rather than focusing solely on Arquimedes, The Clan creates a wonderful dynamic between Arquimedes and his son Alejandro. Not only do we learn about the kidnappings and murders that this family committed, but we also learn about the relationship between Alejandro and his father. This is where the film showcases the manipulative tendencies of Arquimedes. Peter Lanzani did a fantastic job portraying Alejandro, a young man who knew what he was doing was wrong, but was unable to escape the power his father had over him.

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It may have been lost in translation, but some aspects of the story felt a little underdeveloped and rushed. There were a lot of time jumps throughout the film and there was a lack of detail as to what had happened in between those jumps. A lot of what happened in between felt as though it was up to the audience to determine. The story lines surrounding Alejandro and his brothers especially felt a little confusing and hard to follow. That was relatively easy to forgive though considering the gritty and captivating feel of the entire film.

One of the best aspects of The Clan was the choice of soundtrack. The film opens with Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks while showing bits and pieces of what we later find out is a flash forward to the final scene of the film. The song then plays again connecting the opening scene to that of the same prolonged scene at the end of the film. The song works as a kind of juxtaposition between a relatively upbeat and cheerful melody with a hectic, dark and dramatic scene.

The Clan was a chilling display of a man who manipulates his family into believing that they’re doing the right thing by aiding him in the kidnappings. What is even more chilling is that Arquimedes himself believes that he is doing nothing wrong and that committing these kidnappings and murders is a perfectly acceptable thing for him to do in order to provide for himself and his family.

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Written & Directed by: Pablo Trapero

Starring: Guillermo FrancellaPeter Lanzani

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