As film art, despite the use of Cinemascope to harvest ravishing (if you'll forgive the term in this context) visuals from its coastal Chilean nowheresville setting, The Club is less interesting and more linear than Larrain's earlier work. But this wrenching, ambivalent corrective to the simplistic moralizing understandably endemic to examinations of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church is no small achievement.
Larraín and his team only falter on the unabashed misanthropy and its constant excesses to make an argument all too familiar for Chilean standards, but his storytelling remains gripping and sharp within its own limitations, which makes one conclude that Larrain's understanding of narrative devices is getting better, however banal or belligerent they might be at the moment.
This faith tale puts together a beautiful cast to showcase their best: it's painfully devastating: layer after layer after layer of awkwardness and catholic guilt delight. Larraín builds a very atmospheric diegesis - it's an odd world for odd sins. Caught me choking on some scenes: like the church, they are intense and cruel.
The Club unwinds with haunting tranquility, and the heavy subject matter is framed in a dreamy cinematic world that's as beautiful as it is disturbing. Larrain balances a range of emotional extremes, and the acting feels painfully authentic.
Larrain gives us a damning view of human nature even amongst the so-called pious with this incredibly well scripted picture written by Calderon, Villalobos and Larrain. The tranquility of the opening moments gives way to violence, disturbing dialogue and slowly revealed secrets that can only lead to hellish action. Performances are solid especially Antonia Zegers as the nun/jail keep. This is a film that... cntd
Characters, dialogue and Chile all fucked up and sordid. They went a bit overboard with the Arvo Pärt though. TIME TO CALL IT: black sheep Larraín Matte will at some point be the first Oscar-winning Chilean director.
Wonderfully creepy, exquisitely shot, brooding, pitch black comedy that marries a welcome return to the Tony Manero era storytelling with a more robust narrative. The performances are sublime and the world of the film has left a lingering impression that is deepening with the passing of time. 4.5 stars