It’s payback time at The Club
The Club (El Club)
I would certainly like to be a fly on the wall if the Pope ever settles down one night to watch this jarring and intense film. Directed by Pablo Larrain, and set in Chile, on a drab, remote seaside town becomes the setting for a group of priests. All were banished there, no longer fit to serve their parishes due to the sins they have committed in their past. During the opening credits, long before any dialogue occurs we are lulled into soothing beach sunset scenes with one of the men playing with his dog, scored to the stringed soundtrack of Estonian composer Arvo Part.
The four priests reside in a small house overseen by steely nun-turned-caretaker, Hermana (Antonia Zegers) who treats each of the men as her brothers, even up to the point of changing one of their nappies. Larrain did plenty of research, interviewing real clergy from the Catholic Church who confirmed houses such as this do in fact exist.
What is even more shocking is that it is completely funded by the Church.
The men are all mostly middle aged, and to take some time out from remembering why they are there, seek comfort and enjoyment in greyhound racing, along with the good fortune they receive from it. What would God say, not much repentance happening here you may ask?
All of their filthy past is mired with their convictions and desire linked to paedophilia, political corruption and even selling babies. The heat soon gets turned up with the arrival of new priest, Father Lazcano. Unfortunately for him his stint at the house comes to an abrupt and violent end when he is tracked down by ex-altar boy called Sandokan he once knew.
Sandokan makes a spectacle outside the house, yelling graphic expletives of what he had to endure, what happens next forces the Church to send in Father Garcia (Marcel Alonso) to investigate the house with hopes of shutting it down. He makes each of the men face their convictions and manages to get them to confess even more. By the end of it you are unsure who to dislike the most.
Sandokan is most likely the leading man who gets plenty of time to really illustrate the psychological damage and suffering he still bears. It’s not all doom and gloom however because throughout the film there are dark comic moments and each character is thoroughly engaging. El Club has already been submitted for an Oscar and one would suspect it stands a good chance of going all the way to grab the gold.
Out March 25 in cinemas.