El Conde review – Pinochet rises from the dead in Pablo Larraín’s gothic horror

After the ethereal, English-language Spencer, Chilean director Pablo Larraín returns home with this gothic monochrome alt-history, imagining murderous dictator General Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire. Having faked his death, Pinochet (Jaime Vadell), AKA El Conde, is hiding out in the crumbling grandeur of his Patagonian lair, hoping for death. This end-of-life ennui is disturbed by his money-grubbing family, not-so-loyal servant (Alfredo Castro) and a comely accountant-nun (Paula Luchsinger).

All are entertaining in turn, though none manages to drive a stake through the dark heart of Larraín’s often enigmatic political point. It’s down to the arch, instantly recognisable narration to really skewer crony-capitalism, while Larraín’s film demonstrates a palate for mordant humour as refined as the count’s taste for blood.

The Guardian

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