You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of The Club.
Huh. I don’t really get it. I would call myself a pretty big fan of Pablo Larraín. I place his earlier film No in my best films of the 2010s. I was also a pretty big fan of Jackie last year, particularly his director of the film. And in all honesty, I was attempting to see his newest film, Neruda, this week instead of this film. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get around to it, so I decided to see this film instead. And people really like this film. It was nominated for best foreign film at the Golden Globes in its year. But I really don’t get it.
The Club is a Chilean film about the house where these priests go to be punished for their sins. While they are there, they are interrogated about all of their sins. The film is really just that. It is a bunch of talking scenes between two people where each priest explains the horrible thing they did. I’m not against this kind of film. I think dialogue driven films can work and I think single location films can work. I think they can even work together. But the dialogue in this film just isn’t strong enough to carry an entire film. When you do a dialogue based film, you need to have a writer that is really good at writing dialogue. A prime example of this being Aaron Sorkin who write pretty much only dialogue. And I think that Pablo Larraín is a great director. Emphasis on the word director.
Usually, I am a fan of the aesthetic of Pablo Larraín’s filmography, the little that I have seen at least. The filming of No using cameras from the era and mixing in footage from the actual event is a genius idea and I loved the color palette and aspect ratio of the film. He does pretty much the same thing with Jackie but to a lesser noticeable extent. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Larraín is just really good at matching a style of a period. Because the aesthetic of this film is just poor.
The color of the film is excessively blue. Like, film school just learning how to color correct level of blue. I tried to find out what camera the film was shot on, but I couldn’t find it. It has a very digital look to it, though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was shot digitally. I will also say that I am not opposed to digital filmmaking, in fact, I am more for that than keeping dead and inferior methods. But along with the gross color of the film, it feels like almost none of the film is in focus. Most of the time when I watch a film that was shot digitally, it has a very crisp look to it. Which some are against, some are for. This film just looks hazy and is hard to look at. Some critics have stated that is the point. It is supposed to look unclear because that it what the priests are saying, it’s unclear and hazy. And if that is what they are going for, that’s what they achieve. But, it is still unpleasant and like I said before, the dialogue in the film isn’t strong enough to link the two together.
I don’t have a lot of words for this film. It is just overall a disappointment. I still consider Larraín to be a fantastic director. And the ending to this film is actually pretty good, mainly because that is when some action actual starts to happen. But I don’t know. I walk away from this film thinking I wasted my time with it. The movie states that molesting children is bad. It’s a bold statement, but only because of the subject matter. And a bold subject matter doesn’t make for a bold movie. It just makes for a film that is trying far too hard to be important.