A visceral and undiluted addition into Pablo Larraín’s already stunning repertoire of directorial pieces, The Club is as cold to the senses as the truth in which it portrays; it’s a shot to the throat that leaves you bleeding out in brutal fashion.
Residing in an isolated coastal town (and isolation is most certainly the stories thematic structure) a group of excommunicated priests dwell within a house, their crimes shafted from the public eye and culprits under protection via the powers that be, their sins are investigated by Father Garcia (Marcelo Alonso) and he’s here to clean house.
What’s more traumatising and outright dramatic than venturing into a blacker than black past, digging up the skeletons and laying what little organic residue that resides to rot furthermore in the sun? It’s the kind of realisation that once you’ve seen someone’s darker nature, it’s impossible not to see them in any other light. Multiply that by the group’s number and it’s already an unsettling situation to perceive despite its “fictitious” depiction. (But… you know… it’s what priests are well known for, so the fictitious..? Maybe not so much)
This is a brave film, a bold film, it doesn’t just lightly touch upon the circumference of paedophilia it outright shoves the consequences in your face. When you see what’s supposed to represent such a sanctified holiness succumb to the convenient nature of living, even during a period of repentance, you will question, you will condemn. There’s still hope however and you will desperately cling to this in the story’s emotionally moving climax. This ship sails with a quality rarely felt, dare I say it, near perfection.
In every dark corner, whether it in plural or singular fashion, there is a sin. To overcome this, characters really must be put through their paces. It makes for an undeniable dramatic pull. Upon your first viewing you will understand the very definition of ‘shattering’ – it portrays exactly what it needs to without digression and without convoluting the subject. Maybe a politician or two could learn a thing with this? You don’t just view ‘The Club’, you experience it and it’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
It will haunt you. And much like sin, it will follow you. This is one to fuck up the psyche. Enjoy!
5 / 5
Dir: Pablo Larraín
Scr: Guillermo Calderón, Pablo Larraín, Daniel Villalobos
Starring: Marcelo Alonso, Roberto Farias, Alfredo Castro, Alejandro Sieveking
DOP: Sergio Armstrong
Music: Carlos Cabezas
Run time: 96 mins
The Club was screened as part of the London Film Festival on Oct 8 & 9. It is released in cinemas 25 March 2016.