In Argentina, the only thing more dangerous than the rampant auto accidents and understaffed hospitals is the ambulance-chasing attorneys who prey upon the injured and grieving. Carancho, Pablo Trapero's social exposé-cum-thriller, concentrates on one such "carancho" (translation: vulture), Sosa (Ricardo Darín), and his budding relationship with junkie doctor Luján (Martina Gusman), whose love helps him develop the moral courage necessary to realize his dreams of escaping his wretched profession.
The film opens tonight at the Coral Gables Art Cinema with Argentine food and wine bar courtesy of Graziano's Restaurant of Coral Gables, and a tango performance by George Vergara & Cythia McGee La Portilla.
In the film, from staged-accident scams to schemes designed to dupe
innocents out of indemnity payouts, Argentina's health and insurance
industries are raked over the coals as corrupt systems that exploit the
powerless and crush those with do-gooder consciences. Short on genuine
suspense and long on righteous anger, the film is bolstered by a sturdy
performance by Darín that brings emotional nuance to an underwritten
Trapero, meanwhile, mires the proceedings in grungy neorealist
aesthetics that often prove self-conscious and ineffective, particularly
in an early series of handheld tracking shots from behind characters'
heads that mistake bumpiness for immediacy and prove that the Dardennes'
influence has reached South America.
Nonetheless, the director's stylistic showmanship eventually pays off in
a bravura single-take climax, his camera navigating physical and
emotional spaces with the fatalistic urgency and despair of film noir.
Carnacho screens tonight at 7:30 and 10:00 pm (both screenings includes
9:00 pm reception), with showtimes through April 28. Special ticket
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prices for opening night are $15 general admission. Coral Gables Art
Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables. Visit
-- Nick Schager