May 032009

In Última Parada 174 Brazilian veteran director Bruno Baretto tackles the explosive tale of homeless Sandro who one day will take a bus full of people hostage in central Rio de Janeiro, a theme already explored in José Padilha’s brilliant documentary Ônibus 174.

While far from as thrilling and orignal as recent Brazilian masterpieces City Of God or Padilha’s Tropa de Elite, it’s a well executed project and has some great scenes, including a very tense opening (and the actor that portrays Sandro looks like a young Will Smith, which is a bonus).

(Fresh Prince in Rio de Janeiro.)

You get a much clearer view of the social situation for the very poor in Padilha’s documentary, but retelling the story here, in a more easily acessed format, focusing more on a traditional, character-driven structure, also fills a purpose. The story deserves retelling, not just the story about Sandro’s path through poverty and crime and prison and cocaine to a violent but strangely communicative death, but the story about police that kills street kids like their were cock roaches (and the middle class that applauds them for doing so, the interviews with random people in the street about the Candelaria incident being the most shocking part in Padilha’s documentary).

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