Michel and Guenther, working in dead-end jobs, are obsessed with going to Peru to find buried treasure, using a map of the Rio das Mortes. Michel's girlfriend, Hanna, humors their plan, but... See full summary »
Michel and Guenther, working in dead-end jobs, are obsessed with going to Peru to find buried treasure, using a map of the Rio das Mortes. Michel's girlfriend, Hanna, humors their plan, but really just wants to get married. Written by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is a writer/director whose body of work varies more widely than just about any other. Some of his films, such as "Mother Küsters Goes to Heaven", are brilliant and some are absolutely terrible and self-indulgent ("Querelle" comes to mind). There just is no categorizing of this enigmatic man's work. Yet, oddly, there are also some disciples of the man who talk about his films like they are ALL brilliant works of art--even though the average viewer would never sit through many of his films. Imagine Joe Average watching AND ENJOYING such Fassbinder films as "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant"--it just isn't going to happen! And, because practically every film he made is adored by a small but loyal crowd, I am reminded of the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes! In the case of "Rio das Mortes", it's official--Fassbinder is, so to speak, absolutely naked!
While I realize that the production quality of Fassbinder's films are not usually up to Hollywood standards (partly, I think, because he made so many, many films so rapidly in succession), even by Fassbinder standards "Rio das Mortes" looks cheap. The print is ultra-grainy and the film looks as if it was filmed with an 8 or 16mm camera. It was steady (fortunately), but it just had poor resolution.
As for the acting and story, unfortunately, they were actually much worse than the poor camera-work. The acting, in many cases, was terrible--with actors doing about as well as you'd expect from community theater--but no better. There also was a pretty meaningless fistfight that made me laugh--as the blow obviously never connected! As for the plot, it never engaged, as you really never cared about these two fist fighting friends. Part of it was the script and part of you just wondered why these two flakes with absolutely no training wanted to sell everything to move to Peru to try to find some Incan treasure (though sometimes the idiots referred to it as 'Mayan'!). As for the film's ending involving the Robert Plant-like leading man and his sexy but screwy girlfriend with a gun, it just made my brain hurt.
Frankly, there's nothing to like about the film. Nothing.
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