Weird Western ‘Bacurau’ is a Brazen, Bloody, Mesmerising Watch (Brazil/France)

Julien Neaves – Editor

I recently saw my friend and fellow critic Matthew Bailey of Beers, Beats and Bailey talking about a movie called Bacurau in glowing terms. Then I checked out the trailer and it looked weird and vague and interesting, but gave away nothing. And then I watched it and I was completely unprepared for the wild ride that I was about to experience.

Bacurau, winner of the Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, is a weird western directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. It is also a co-production between Brazil and France. The film is set in the titular fictional town in the Brazilian hinterland, and begins with a woman returning home for her mother’s funeral, unaware that her hometown will soon fall prey to a very sinister group. I could go into more details but it is difficult without spoilers, and I am keeping this one spoiler free.

How aristocrats wave their flag in a carnival fete*

Bacurau is anti-Hollywood movie in its style, structure and presentation. There are heroes and villains but no clear protagonist, and the town itself seems to be real hero. It starts with one plot thread, moves on to another, drops that one, goes back to one before. And it begins with one perspective and then flips it. It starts in one genre and then goes full into another. It all sounds a bit confusing but with masterful direction and smart writing it all works.

Another of the film’s strong points is its visuals, which range from interesting to beautiful to weird to trippy to disturbing to gory to horrific. It is really difficult to tear your eyes away from this one. And if you are a fan of over-the-top violence then you will find a healthy serving here. The acting is all very well done, including the lovely Bárbara Colen (Aquarius) and German actor Udo Kier, star of a number of vampire films, including Blade, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Just a little closer you damn, dirty bloodsucker. I’ve got a garlic-filled silver bullet with your name on it!

Under the stunning visuals and buckets of blood there is a fascinating exploration of social, ethnic, class and political exploitation, as well as the raw power of community. The film is therefore both rich in aesthetics and themes, making it quite the rewarding watch. So if you have an interest in exceptionally well-made films that dance to their own beat then Bacurau is a must see.

Julien’s Score: 9 out of 10

* Congratulations to our FUNNY CAPTION FRIDAY winner Sharazz Ali. The joke may be Trini/Caribbean-centric, but it was so dang good I had to use it. And also thanks to everyone else who participated. Are you good at coming up with funny photo captions, and want to participate in the next FUNNY CAPTION FRIDAY? Then like and follow the Redmangoreviews Facebook page by clicking here.

For my review of award-winning crime drama  Malpaso from Dominican Republic/Haiti you can click here

B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93 Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.

I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.

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