“The Clan” is Argentina’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards and “The Clan” did great box office on its home turf in Argentina. “The Clan” is based on a true story in the early 80’s after Argentinians had been abandoned the dictatorship for democracy. The action starts pretty early in the film with the first and surprising abduction juxtaposed by the playing The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon”. as part of the soundtrack Alex Puccio played by, Peter Lanzani, hops a ride with a rugby friend of some means only to be stopped when a car full of hooded men diagonally cut off their progress. But young men were hooded and Alex’s friend is placed in the truck. It’s a few moments later when Alex is place in the car and removes his hood that him and all the occupants of the car are in collusion in this kidnapping. From here on out a series of kidnapping take place with their own topography plays out with varying ugly results.
The head of the Puccio family is Arquímedes Puccio played by, Guillermo Francella, who is the head of the family and architect of the kidnappings and the inevitable and subsequent murders. Arquímedes presides over the family is a somewhat menacing guilt driven way with occasional angry outburst at the diner table with commentary about family solidarity and values. While the beginning of the film’s dynamic focuses primarily on Alex and Arquímedes relationship. As the story continues it expands to include the whole family and the relationship between Alex and his newly acquired girlfriend, Monica, played by Stefania Koessl. Alex is young and resilient and while he took the first murder of his rugby friend in a bad way he bounces back after meeting and hooking up with Monica provide some normalcy. The second kidnapping is set as a montage against Arquímedes and his men executing the hostage and Alex and Monica making love from the backseat of the car. Alex and Monica’s climax culminates precisely with the execution of the second abductees death.
Alex’s engagement to Monica leads to him dropping out of the next abduction, which completely misfires and leads to the unexpected, premature and public death of the victim. The downward spiral ensues for Arquímedes after his string of successful efforts begin to falter. This failure is blamed on Alex for not being a part of that abduction and the resulting melee. Their last abduction leads inevitably to their and whole family’s arrest. There was a feeling of impeding doom for the remaining story like a dark cloud from the previous accidental murder and failed kidnapping. The remaining moments of this horror story deals with the hand of justice being met out to all the perpetrators with some powerful scenes distilling the essence of this dysfunctional father and son relationship between Arquímedes and Alex. Before the credits roll to close the feature a frame of each character logs their outcome with a brief caption and photo summing up their remaining years of their lives after imprisonment.
“The Clan” demonstrates the skill for which Argentinians and in this case director uglyhas for movie making. While there’s a lot of interesting moments in the film there is a certain disconnect and lack relatability “The Clan” has built into it. It wasn’t as fascinating enough a story it ambitiously ascended to be and not compelling enough to have rehearse it over and over again in your head or give you the urge to tell friends about it.