Carancho is Argentinian for vulture – in this case, read ambulance chasers. The car crash rates in Argentina are quite shocking and would put any normal person off chancing it on their roads in any capacity. But it’s become a profitable business for insurance scammers like ex-lawyer Sosa whose main skill is persuading people to throw themselves in front of cars (after he’s knobbled them, Misery style) then claim compensation through his shady bosses. Who, of course, pocket far more of it than they pass on. It’s a miserable game but it seems to suit Sosa well until he gets the hots for an under pressure doctor, Lujan, and sees the error of his ways. But as in all noir thrillers, we know it’s never easy to get out of dodgy dealings, there’s always that one last job to finish… Where would noir thrillers be without it?
It’s gripping stuff, and filmed in the harsh amber lights of the night-time in Buenos Aires – it feels as grubby as the scams being carried out, like a series of Edward Hopper paintings that have got a bit smudged. Sosa is played by Ricardo Darin who I love mostly because he’s basically sexy Noel Gallagher (highly recommend Nine Queens and The Secrets in Their Eyes too, have just put them both back on my LoveFilm list). He is perfectly cast here as a man falling hard for someone who has her own dark shadows and is as relieved as he is to find someone to cling on to. Their romance is sweetly touching, especially the first date scene where Sosa tries to win a kiss.
Director Pablo Trapero takes you right along on Sosa and Lujana’s journey, dark and depressing as it is, and does a masterful job of swallowing you up in that murky world, then spitting you out at the end, albeit a little bit shaken. Great stuff.