Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Gangster movies are rather less common than you might consider, at least within mainstream studio or arthouse fare. So it's consistently disappointing, though never surprising, when the next new gangster drama follows that same well-trodden path, that same tired template recycled over and over before and beyond themselves. Pablo Trapero's points of reference are inevitably similar and short in supply, but there's really no excuse for such a lack of vision. He takes a remarkable true story, shoehorns it into a pedestrian style of filmmaking, and relies on some brash artistic decisions and the reliable adequacy of his overall approach to fashion The Clan into the mediocre movie that it is. Indeed disappointing, and too rarely surprising. The real rub is that one waits patiently for Trapero to attempt something different, something original, to get something plainly right, and is only let down further by the plain wrongness of those attempts; a jarring edit or an obvious soundtrack choice occur only infrequently, and yet one may then find oneself pining for such wrongness once again - anything to disrupt the general monotony. The Clan's most compelling disruption is due to its fantastic cast, committed to their roles just as their director is committed to aping Scorsese. There just aren't words to describe the chilling menace of Guillermo Francella's disarming, enormously layered turn as Arquimedes Puccio, a patriarch with terrorist ties that prove as damaging to those inside the clan as to those outside it. That's yet another familiar beat of the gangster movie, and it's predictably underwhelming in being lifted straight from the pages of history. Francella goes deep, but Trapero's film is an altogether shallow slice of pallid pulp.