Pablo Larraín won the Berlinale Silver Bear this year for his mordantly creepy priest drama “The Club,” which represents Chile in the foreign Oscar race and just received a Golden Globe nomination. With an ensemble featuring Alfredo Castro (also terrific in Venice winner “Desde Alla”), Roberto Farias, Antonia Zegers and Jaime Vadell, the film settles into a seaside town where four former Catholic priests languish in exile, doing penance for their shady pasts while obsessively betting on a greyhound they’re training for local dog races.
But their quiet lives are shattered by the arrival of, first, a counselor sent by the Vatican, and then a disgruntled victim of Catholic abuse, inevitably raining a spiritual plague upon their houses. Reminiscent of Pasolini’s “Teorema,” “The Club” is an astute examination of an interloper’s effects on the power dynamics of a group.
“The Club” is the fifth film by Larraín, Oscar-nominated in 2013 for “No.”