Anyone reading this review probably already knows that this film is based on a character created by Brazilian writer Luís Fernando Veríssimo as a parody of American detective stories. By the moment a film adaptation is made, however, it doesn't (or, at least, it shouldn't) matter whether you have read Veríssimo's stories or not, and regardless of how good Ed Mort might be on paper, the fact is that this film falls short of being successful. It's a shame, because the premise is great and some technical aspects are outstanding: the art direction is faultless and the quirky soundtrack by Arrigo Barnabé fits like a glove. Indeed, the screenplay itself is by no means bad, but the film is marred by dreadful performances. As a parody, it's only fair that they would try for caricature-like performances, but not a single cast member seems to have quite figured how to achieve it (yet Roseane Lima as Dayse arguably stands out as the worst performance here). The artificiality of the acting, instead of providing a comical hue, comes out as plain amateurism, which is intriguing, once most of these actors have been seen in much better shape on different occasions. Perhaps this is something non-(native)Portuguese speakers won't notice, but it makes the film annoying to the point of being almost unwatchable. Something must have caused director Alain Fresnot to lose his way and, as a domino effect, the whole cast went off the rails with him. Too bad.
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