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Monday, 4 July 2016

On 4.7.16 by KieronMoore in , , ,    No comments

Full review on Starburst.

The Club follows a group of priests and their housekeeper living in an isolated town, but it’s as far from Father Ted as you could get. This is a house where priests are sent to repent for horrible crimes that the Church won’t report to the authorities for fear of scandal. Yes, Pablo Larraín’s film deals with the horrific sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, already brought to our attention this year by the awards-sweeping Spotlight.

One day, a new priest joins the house and is immediately accosted by Sandokan, a man he’d abused as a child, leading to the priest committing suicide. This draws the attention of Father Garcia, a younger priest intent on shutting the ‘retirement home’ down.

Where Spotlight excelled was in drawing attention to the horrors of the scandal by giving voice to its victims rather than the Church’s attempts to defend itself. The Club has a much tougher ask, and many viewers will be understandably put off by the very idea of a film focusing on characters who could commit such monstrous crimes. However, this is no clichéd and undeserved tale of repentance; Larraín and his co-writers approach this subject matter with no agenda other than to explore the psychological and moral complexities behind the situation.

The film, however, would not be half as interesting without the character of Sandoken, who sticks around in the town to torment the other priests. He’s a very complex figure, his views on sexuality and religion having been screwed up by his childhood traumas.

But don’t expect a dramatically satisfying ending; perhaps fittingly for the very real issues it explores, The Club is a melancholy film which offers more questions than answers. Ultimately, it's a tough but recommended watch.

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