With traffic accidents in Argentina on the rise, bodies become currency and a flourishing black market strives to get rich from the personal tragedies that litter the streets. Sosa (Ricardo Darin) is an ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyer with questionable ethics. Lujan (Martina Gusman) is a young, idealistic country doctor new to the city. As their lives become intertwined, they form an unlikely romance that becomes threatened by Sosa's turbulent past.
‘Carancho’ is Argentinian for the word ‘vultures’ and that is what it’s all about albeit they’re in human form. The lawyers are the vultures as they stage devastating car accidents just so they can collect the insurance money off the victims. It stars a lawyer Sosa (Ricardo Darin of Oscar Best Foreign Language Film ‘The Secret in their Eyes’), who works with the vultures and has no qualms about doing the illegal with them. The ‘foundation’ is all-too powerful and a constant flow activity – 8,000 accidents a year – and business is totally booming for Sosa and company. His intentions are not entirely clear; he does what he does but for what, we don’t know. But we do know that Sosa is a romantic, as he falls for the paramedic doctor Lujan (Martina Gusman) – the very same doctor who tends to the victims Sosa actually puts in the hospital for. Irony. Good stuff.
‘Carancho’ serves as a cautionary tale somewhat. Indeed, insurance fraud is the norm, people do get hurt, hospitals get overrun and doctors are tired and underpaid, and in turn, lives of people become more of a business than a gift. You can’t say this doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world but ‘Carancho’ poses a darker side to its main antagonist, a ‘foundation’ that works on Mafia-like levels with a goal that could be seedier than what you can imagine. Its main protagonist is no better; at first, anyway. Later in the story Sosa does grow a conscience but he’s in too deep, and whatever he does to change, he knows too much, he will be persecuted too. Sosa
is too far gone, we’re not quite sure if we should feel for him or not care about him altogether.
Directed by Pablo Trapero, you can say that he deals greatly with film noir. ‘Carancho’ has its nuanced moments, symbolic scenes and viable performances from its actors. Watching it, you’re meant to wonder, to think, and to discover what is beneath all that. You think you know but you really have no idea. ‘Carancho’ is just like it.