The Club (18)

Directed by Pablo Larrain
Picturehouse, Liverpool
1st April - 7th April 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This dark and claustrophobic account of the sexual misdeeds of a group of priests in Chile - evil epitomised - makes the film Spotlight, dealing with similar subject matters, look tame by comparison.

The language spoken by some of the priests, relating to their gross mistreatment of young boys, is very graphic.

Apparently the script is entirely fictional, the secret house prisons for delinquent priests like the one shown in the film do exist in Chile, and elsewhere in the world. But on the other hand, it is reckoned the screenplay is based on extensive interviews with former priests who lived in such homes.

The priests' repellent behaviour from the past is exposed when Sandokan (Roberto Farias), who was sexually abused by a newly arrived former priest Lazcano, stands outside their sanctuary and reels off the abuse perpetrated on him by 'this holy man of God.' and is a stark reminder of why they are based in a remote fishing village, away from temptation.

Their regimented life style - conforming to a strict timetable of activities of what they can and cannot do - comes to an end.

Their problems are exacerbated when a priest, a so-called 'new kind of priest', arrives with the mandate to close the place down. He interviews them all but basically all he gets in reply is lies, lies, apt symbolic representation of the Catholic Church.

The closing scenes, when ultra violence is committed on both men and animals, is perhaps unnecessary and clouds the main issue behind the film.

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