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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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`Carancho' is the new film from Argentinian director Pablo Trapero. The film begins with some startling statistics, where over 8,000 deaths and 120,000 people are injured on Argentinian roads every year. Set in Buenos Aires in what appears to be a deeply corrupt system, the insurance companies, lawyers, the medical profession and the police are all in on the scam to defraud as many unsuspecting accident victims as possible.

The `Carancho's' prey on victims who are usually the poorest and most vulnerable, who do not have the means or education to know any better. One of these `Carancho's' is Sosa (Ricardo Darin), an ambulance-chasing ex-lawyer who works for the "Foundation", a crooked organisation posing as a charity. They mediate between insurance companies and offer huge pay-outs to the accident victims, but in fact exploit them and take the lions share of the pot.

Sosa meets Luján (Martina Gusmán), a young doctor who supplements her day job of working in a hospital by doing night shifts in an ambulance. Initially, they both seem poles apart when they meet at an accident. But they are both as damaged as each other, sharing the pain of dealing with the same injured patients. Luján needs emotional support to sustain her through an impossibly demanding job, often injecting drugs to cope and stay awake. Sosa knows that what he is doing is wrong, but its payback for previous misdemeanours. Luján gives him the moral determination to finish his job and move on, but there are complications.

`Carancho' is a claustrophobic and brutally frank film. But its not all grim in Buenos Aires, Sosa and Lujáns relationship gives the film a sense of hope. There's a lovely scene when Sosa persuades Luján to meet for a coffee after work, in what could have been yet another car-crash incident but instead focuses on them flirting the morning away. The strong performances from the pairing of Darin and Luján add real weight to this film.

`Carancho' is far from a perfect film but it has some memorably tense scenes, in particular the opposing gangs fighting in the hospital. The final frenetic third of the film is often comicly predictable, but you have to admire the wild execution of the final set of sequences to end the film.

Rating 7/10
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 9 September 2012
This Argentinean film stars Ricardo Darin (`Nine Queens' and `The Secret in their eyes') as Sosa. He has lost his practicing licence as an attorney and so is reduced to what is often referred to as `ambulance chasing'. Whilst attending the scene of an accident in an attempt to whip up some trade from the victim, the paramedic shows up and she is Lujan (Martina Gusman). As he starts to see more of her he finally gets round to asking her out and an unlikely relationship develops. Whilst she self medicates in order to cope, he starts to see that he can no longer carry on in his role and an exit strategy is called for.

This is all set against the background of the compensation vultures who will stop at nothing to get their hands on their clients money and try to keep it there. We also have police complicity as well as the ambulance crews and medical staff all in on the scams. Sosa finally has a crisis of conscience and it is at that point that he truly sees how depraved the system that he is working in, really can be.

This is a well directed tale from Pablo Trapero who wants to expose this vile trade and the seeming relentless road accidents that take place in Argentina. Whilst there is a message there is also a good story and the all of the acting is of a very high standard. There may be a tad too many coincidences for some viewers tastes but as such they are merely plot contrivances that are forgivable in the context of the film.

In Spanish with good sub titles and a run time of 107 minutes; there is some action and violence and next to `nada' in the bedroom department, but I still found this to be very watchable.
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on 16 October 2012
The Film Noir genre appears to be pretty much dead in modern Hollywood, but this has not stopped the rest of the world from producing low priced movies that concentrate on character over explosions. `Carancho' is a prime example of this and has all the trappings of Film Noir. Sosa is an ambulance chaser who wants out of this corrupt game, but is forced to remain until he gets his licence back to practise law. He meets Lujan, a young doctor who has her own issues. Together this broken couple hope to make a meaningful life for themselves. Will it turn out a bed of roses?

`Carancho' is refreshing in that it is such a classic feeling Film Noir. Sosa is a slightly slobbish antihero who manages to seduce and date the much younger and attractive Lujan. Although Sosa may be no oil painting, Ricardo Darin does imbue him with a charisma and rounded character, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that these two would get together. It is the story itself that is best about `Carancho'. Our heroes are dragging themselves away from trouble, only to be forced back in at every turn.

There are issues, especially in terms of pacing. I don't mind a slow pace in Film Noir and `Carancho' does these segments well; it is when the film attempts to speed up and add some action that things get a little sloppy. Apart from one brutally violent scene, the action sequences don't have the ring of truth that the rest of the film portrays. `Carancho' is intelligent, well written and acted convincingly, as a slice of cinema it is nice to have something adult to watch. This does not mean that it is brilliant, as a piece of Film Noir, it is good, but won't become a classic.

With its gritty camera style, `Carancho' is a film that is watchable on DVD and does not really need HD. The extras include a making of that is subtitled and gives you an insight into why Martina Gusman took the second lead role.
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on 6 October 2013
This film was given multiple 4 and 5 star reviews by critics and i have to ask just what they have been watching if they think this is a 4 or 5 star film? It dragged and dragged and dragged.I watched it with my parents and my brother and we all thought it was very poor and could not believe how it could have been so well reviewed. My dad fell asleep and my mum was nodding off too. I was tempted myself, would have been more interesting. Bungs for critics perhaps? I know reviews are subjective but a 5 star review for this is ludicrous. It makes me angry as i often buy based on reviews and its a waste of money.

Compared to Nine queens and The secret in their eyes this is a very very poor film. Even the great acting of Ricardo darin couldnt save it. It seemed ridiculous as well that Darin, looking haggard and baggy eyed as usual,has an affair with a beautiful doctor who looks about half his age. It just wasnt believable. There is one good and amusing scene where 2 gang members who have just been in a fight are getting treated in the same hospital in the same room. They spot each other and despite their injuries start fighting again.That was the only high point of the film.

I love Argentinian cinema and have seen several great films, including the 2 mentioned above, but this is not one of them. Monotonous with unbelievable plot lines its one to avoid, unless you need help getting to sleep, and definitely another one that goes straight in the charity bag.
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on 16 August 2014
this is an excellent, excellent film. A dark reflection of real life brilliantly scripted, directed and acted. Brutal, tragic and credible it is an absolute gem.
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on 31 December 2012
Well acted, gritty subject and shows Argentinian life behind the scenes .not a laugh at minute so watch it when you are strong.
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on 16 April 2012
This is the possibly last word in feel-bad movies, and as such it's worth seeing. However by the time the final and utterly absurd heist sequence came around I simply laughed out loud. In many ways the "realism" that other people have admired is little more than a cliché-ridden farrago of conventional (nocturnal, in the main) film shorthand.

The excessive use of extremely shallow depth-of-field, particularly in the early sequences, is very irritating. Directors are now using it with little relevance to the development of character, plot - or indeed anything except a sense of their own "artistry". I suspect that the use of cheap DSLR video might have something to do with this.

Now I'm a fan of dark films who loathes conventional Hollywood characters and plots but the two star-crossed @55holes who are the central characters in this film had me rooting for their comeuppance before half the film had elapsed.
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