Why would He keep His most humble followers away from roses and only push thorns under their feet? And in His ever expanding wisdom, how can He condemn His disciples to live a life devoid of pleasures. Isn’t He the merciful forgiver and loves the sinners and victims equally? Or have we, in our ignorance, misinterpreted all His teachings and have forged mortal rules rather than the divine?

Four priests, abandoned by their faith and on the verge of losing hope of any divine intervention to pull them from their individual chasms, are sentenced by Church to a shelter home in a sad and lonely town in Chile. Sins of the past hangs like dirty spider webs from the corners of their rooms, trapping guilt in their hideous wings. Unspoken secrets and unholy whispers cling to their lips. But then, a fifth priest, a psychological crisis overseer arrives and the hazy silence breaks into ugly violence.

El Club, behind all of this setting, quietly succeeds in building up a vision of past so hauntingly real, that it becomes ever present. The past rule over the morning rituals, digs its claws in the songs and is omnipresent inside the house. With a subject matter so blasphemous and devoid of faith, the execution had to be near magical to connect. Coupled with outstandingly brooding performances and a background score so ominously depressing, the hits of the climax are gut wrenching. Pablo Larrain has mustered up all of his audacity and delivered a searing critique against the Church and their methodology.

Suppressed violent undercurrents tremble below its quiet surface. Tremors with magnitudes capable of toppling over ancient doctrines and existing religious structures. Pablo Larrain digs the decadent remains of all the lost prayers and plants the seeds of redemption over them. El Club is a viscerally dark atonement saga which is blessed with devil’s hands of deftness.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté


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