Star rating – 8/10
The backdrop for this thrilling Argentinean film noir is the appalling injury rate and loss of life through road accidents there every year. And inevitably where there’s an accident there’s a claim to be made, and people to exploit. Carancho shows that the corruption which has grown up around this claims industry has spread its dark tentacles into the legal profession, the police, and even the doctors who are meant to care for the victims and their families.
It’s extremely well made, with the muted brownish palette reflecting well the murky dealings of all those involved. Ricardo Darin, who must have one of the most attractive and lived in faces around, and last delighted in the wonderful Oscar winning The Secret in their Eyes, is perfect as Sosa, the lawyer who has lost his licence and gone over to the dark side. He is working for an extremely disreputable company whose business plan is to cream most of the compensation from the victims, and to go to any lengths to achieve it. Sosa finds himself spending his time chasing ambulances, participating in fake accidents, and getting beaten up for his trouble, so he is generally not in a great place.
On one assignation he happens to meet and fall for a young doctor, Luján, who works gruelling night shifts at the local hospital and is new in town. Martina Gusmán is very convincing as the woman who slowly falls for the charms of Sosa, despite his black eyes and dubious work practices, and she is also the executive producer of the film, so clearly a talented woman in more ways than one.
As romance blossoms Sosa decides to become a sort of Robin Hood figure, trying to give the families back their rightful cash, and planning his escape plan from his miserable life. I did have a slight problem with the grimy dealings of Sosa, and how Luján could fall for him in spite of them, but then she is given her own dark secret to compensate for his.
It’s a very pacey film, with lots of drama, violence and, inevitably, car crashes. The direction is smooth, the acting is slick, and the lead characters are likeable, despite their flaws. It’s not faultless, but it is a great film, and I really could watch Ricardo Darin for hours and not get bored.