One of the (un-nominated) entries for 2010's Best Foreign Language Film was this Argentine import connected to the insurance industry.
Carancho (in Spanish with English subtitles) stars Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman and may be too bleak and lurid for its own good, even if it counters much of its violence with unusual, if effective romance.
A colorful, prismatic look at moral corruption within the insurance business centers on middle-aged ambulance-chaser of a personal injury lawyer Sosa (Darin, remarkably good in the acclaimed The Secret In Their Eyes).
Sosa, whose license is suspended, is connected with physicians, police, and judges in some treacherous affiliation, The Foundation, as he is under the employ of an umbrageous law firm, reporting to The Dog. The catch is that these dubious folks hustle or leach onto "clients" to nab the lion's share of claims with nary much left for the latter.
The more intimate side of a swift, squalid tale, well-modulated, if a little suspect sees Sosa enamored with a much younger doctor Lujan (Gusman), new to the scene, who treats the victims of the very high volume of traffic accidents. Those being the chief source of fatalities in a country which is alarming even relative to the much larger number in the U.S.
With all the brutality in Carancho which actually means vulture, the coupling of Sosa and Lujan as Darin and Gusman etch out an emotional palpability that goes a long way. Especially with all of crash-ups and beatings (at the hands of attorneys and law enforcement).
A shadowy, lush visual texture lines an unprofessional existence for what is like rodents in a labyrinth. Promising helmer Pablo Trapero sees the advantage of setting up some interesting points of view and reflections that gravitate in an audacious, if unsettling manner.
It may be hard to empathize with the likes of a Sosa who eagerly goes out on a limb, but there may be something to the quandary in the grand scheme of things. Even as it carefully flexes its way to a hair-raising coda as some of the thuggish clashes are wryly laced, an uncompromising thriller of a noir may be more harsh and spartan than genuinely involving.