Director: Eduardo Pinto
Screenplay: Eduardo Pinto
Stars: Camila Cruz, Lautaro Delgado, Yiyo Ortiz
Producers: Martin Deluca, Omar Jadur, Antoni Sole
Country: Argentina
Running time: 100 minutes
Year: 2008
BBFC Certificate: 18

Caño Dorado or golden gun is the story of Julio (aka Panceta) a young man who lives in a less than salubrious part of Argentina. By day he works making pipes, in his spare time he turns these skills to something less legal.

Right from the start of the film you can tell that Caño Dorado isn’t going to be anything other than a gritty, realistic film. At the end of the credit sequence Panceta hurts his wrists in an industrial accident, you don’t see any blood but it does look painful.

We then enter into his world as he goes home to his mother to a house that isn’t that many rungs up the property ladder from a slum. It’s sort cross between a shanty house and a trailer park. Panceta is probably the gaucho equivalent of trailer trash.

Panceta’s hobby, or sideline, it seems is using pipes he steals from his work to make basic guns. The idea is very simple. One piece of pipe slides inside another with a shotgun cartridge or bullet inside. If you slide the two together hard enough a pin inside hits the charge and the bullet or cartridge is fired. Being a skilled metal worker Panceta starts selling these ‘guns’ into the community around him. This doesn’t go unnoticed as he soon finds himself dealing with the local mafia.

Panceta is also rather fond of fishing and the night before going on a solo fishing trip, he goes to a party at the local community centre. Ironically the party is being held to raise money for a boy who lost his eye after being shot. At the party Panceta meets a young girl, Clara, and the next day she joins him on his trip down river.

The trouble is the girl’s grandfather, who she lives with, isn’t happy and the two love birds are soon being followed.

Caño Dorado certainly isn’t very heart warming, but it is very well shot and the screenplay certainly has you rooting for Panceta and Clara. The scenery is both beautiful and really quite disturbing at times. The river they go fishing on looks the same colour as the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, except a lot less appealing. If the thought of eating anything from here is bad enough, they even go swimming in it. It’s enough to make you want to get the diarrhoea remedies out in sympathy.

One criticism we do have of Caño Dorado is that it’s not that clear as to who is who. We only knew that the people Panceta deals with were mafia when we read the press release that came with the film. Maybe it’s something that the Argentinean audience would get without it having to be explained, we’re not sure. The fact that later in the film the police get involved too makes this even more confusing.

The other issue we have with the film is the ending. We won’t tell you what happens only that it is rather abrupt. Some things get sorted out, but others are left hanging a little. Having said that it can be a bit twee when everything gets tidied up at the end of a film as this rarely happens in real-life of course.

Having never seen an Argentinean film before we were very impressed with Caño Dorado. It is well written, shot, directed and acted. It doesn’t try to do too much, sticks to what it knows and if you’re a fan of Spanish films then it’s worth watching.

Written by Henry Tucker

About The Author

A film lover with eclectic tastes that range from pretty much any European cinema to war films, comedies and the occasional Hollywood (leave your brain at the door) blockbuster.

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