Car accidents are the leading cause of death among Argentinians age 35 and under, and the third-leading cause of death—after cancer and heart disease—among all Argentinians. And wherever you can find an accident victim, you can find a “Carancho”—vulture—or ambulance chaser in the American parlance.
For reasons unknown, Sosa (Ricardo Darin) was disbarred nearly a decade ago and has been reduced to working for the Foundation, a sketchy venture dedicated to preying on the victims of automobile tragedies. But one of the perks of hanging accident scenes is the opportunity to meet sexy young doctors, like Lujan (Martina Gusman).
But Lujan is smart enough to be wary of a man so dedicated to his profession that he works with a dispatcher who directs him to the freshest accidents. She manages rebuff his advances for some time, but ultimately is worn down.
Darin follows up his great turn in last year’s Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes” with another fine performance. Sosa is a desperate man who clearly feels no better than you do about the life he’s living. Gusman is the very essence of exhaustion as she drags herself from one shift to the next, struggling with her own demons.
Writer-director Pablo Trapero’s story is certainly compelling enough, as we get taken into the bowels of a foul network of lawyers, doctors and cops taking home 75% of the money insurance companies pay out.
But there’s a lack of immediacy to the action, as dramatic as the events are—crashes, deaths, fights, sex, romance—you seldom feel the tension. There are any number of moments that should be white-knuckle rides, that simply aren’t.
There’s a great thriller waiting to be made from the Trapero’s script, but the “Carancho” Trapero directed is merely pretty good.
"Carancho" is in Spanish with English subtitles. The film is in limited release Feb. 11