The Clan (2015) was one of many entries in TIFF’s Platform series that impressed me. Based on a true story, it centres around a middle class Argentinian family in the early 80s kidnapping, ransoming, and murdering rich people. Guillermo Francella plays the patriarch Arquimedes, the ringleader of the family organizing and negotiating the deal, all in the name of his family. But as his star athlete son Alejandro (Peter Lanzani) begins to questions and reject his methods, Arquimedes’ veneer of family loyalty begins to become undone.
Unlike, say, Bleak Street, this film explicitly illustrated its historicity through the occasion screen text establishing when and where scene take place. While the film loses a touch of its coherence and tension when it flash forwards to the family’s inevitable downfall, the film crackles with more intensity in the second half of the film, bringing the father-son dynamic to a head.
This film ended with my jaw agape. It was a riveting experience of shock and delight, a rare filmic high that I must applaud The Clan for its masterful execution. Recommended.