Monday, June 13, 2011

Movie: Carancho (U.S. 2011)

Forget the Dos Equis ads. For my money the most interesting man in the world, as well as the best actor, is Argentina’s Ricardo Darín. Criminally charismatic and with a taste for dark material, he starred in the only two films directed by the late, much-missed Fabián Bielinsky as well as my favorite movie of last year. In the now-on-DVD Carancho, he’s working in the shadows again.

Darín plays Sosa, a disgraced lawyer hustling for clients injured in collisions on the lethally dangerous streets of Buenos Aires. The title means “vulture,” and while we don’t actually see Sosa chasing an ambulance he does follow one very closely. He’s not above staging accidents to turn a buck. Doing so brings him into the orbit of Luján (Martina Gusmán), a hard-working doctor concealing a drug addiction. Trapped in a deeply corrupt system, they wonder if they can trust each other – and if so, whether they can make a clean break.

Carancho admirably doesn’t hold the viewer’s hand, although at times I wouldn’t have minded. It’s still unclear exactly why Buenos Aires’ traffic is so deadly, or how Sosa fell to his lowly state. But the intensity of emotion between these two broken people is unmistakable, setting up a hair-raising ending. Noir to its very core and further proof of Ricardo Darín’s unassailable awesomeness, Carancho is not to be missed.