28 April 2006 | lucca-nyc
Just came back from the premiere in the Tribeca Film Fest, and I must say I am very disappointed. I was looking forward to this film as it includes great American and Brazilian talent involved, but it all seemed wasted.
The audience in general did not seemed thrilled by the movie. An unexciting Q and A followed the screening and even the actor themselves (especially Mos Def) did not seem to be very interested in discussing the movie.
The plot is over the top, full of holes. The movie does not strike a balance between in gritty reality and supernatural elements. Many shockers (she-male sex scene, gore) only disgust, but do not add the the narrative power of the movie. Characters jump in and out of scenes without any development and explanation. Unintentional laughs all along the screening.
The city of Sao Paulo, Brazil was poorly used. It could have been just any other poor area in a third world country. Little do people know, the city is a megalopolis with much to be explored, but the filmmakers just used it for shock value. It is a poorly executed portrayal of a complex city. They could have very much used a sound stage.
The actors are obviously very talented, yet ultimately miscast. Brendan Fraser tries hard, but he is not born to play an asshole role. It just came over as over the top and preposterous. Scott Glenn was solid, as was Catalina. Mos Def is the standout though.
The filmmakers do not seem very confident of what language they want to use. While I appreciate the fact that locals spoke Portuguese with subtitles, even English speaking main characters every once in a while changed their language whilst in the middle of dialogue. It sounds phony, rehearsed and plainly sucks.
The plot attempts and Tarantino-esquire mish mash of characters that somehow inter wine - but they are so poorly developed that everything seems silly and point out to holes in the plot.
Believe me, I was looking forward to this and tried very hard to like it. If you are interested in gritty dramas about Brazilian suburbs, rent City of God, Central Station, heck, Mango Yellow instead.
TOO MUCH WASTED TALENT, and honestly, I blame on the director. This had a lot of potential. Gritty cinematography is of high quality though.