Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles directs Sônia Braga, Udo Kier and Bárbara Colen in this Brazilian contemporary Western where a small rural community find themselves isolated from help and resources by a mysterious gang.
Universally praised as one of the best films of the past year this really failed to reach that high standard and utterly underwhelmed me. The first hour follows a township slowly realising they are no longer on the map and someone is disrupting their way of life. There are moments of magical realism and political swipes. A good sense of paranoia. Not quite John Carpenter but the attempt is there. You assume the local or national government or a multinational want to kill them off or drive them out for profit. Then we meet their aggressors. Just a bunch of Westerners, tourists who want to kill third world humans. We spend too much time with these 2D scum. Their attitudes are facile and comic book racist. They are so heavy handed in their portrayal that you can’t take the film seriously. They aren’t a threat so no B-Movie thrills follow. They are too basic and immaturely evil to be seen as good satire. Like meeting a pothead at a party droning on about how awful “the man” is. This is a film for idiots who want their overblown worldview confirmed, it doesn’t work as rhetoric for those of us know geopolitics are more complex. More sinister in reality. The thriller aspects as the village realises they are under threat and defend themselves are fine. If we only saw brief glimpses of the goons hunting them then there’d be a better experience to think over here. Ridiculously, The Running Man has more nuance, bite and emotion.
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