The purpose of Leonel Vieira in the making of this movie was NOT to show the world that there is another type of Portuguese cinema - he made the type of movie he knows how to. And if that was good for cash boxes and awards in Portugal and abroad, so much the better! The purpose of Leonel Veieira was also not to prove to the Portuguese public that Portuguese actors can act. He would have chosen someone other than Diogo Morgado if that was the case. Morgado hangs himself together next to the likes of bigger-than-life Maitê Proença, and in the wild setting that the movie provides, one can nearly forget about his bad acting. The purpose of Leonel Vieira was also not to simply adapt The Jungle, a novel which has been translated into every imaginable language and delighting readers over generations, being one of the first world-best-sellers in history.
Leonel Vieira, I am convinced, wanted to do the same thing that every movie director wants: he wanted to tell us a story. And a story he told. A creepy, violent, despairing, overwhelming story of the life in the Amazon in a lawless period, in a period where men were not worth their shoes, if they had any. So, the question is not whether Diogo Morgado was good or not in the movie(surrounded by so many high-calibre starts, who cares, really...?); the question is: was the movie any good. Oh!, yes, it was! The photography is undoubtedly the best that has been done in Portugal. The script is the antithesis of typical Portuguese cinema (slow and melancholic) - although with hints of it! The opening traveling scene reminded me of Kubrik's 'The Shining'. And then there are scenes of outrageous shock. I challenge you all to watch the movie, for the story's sake. Watch it and forget about silly critical biases. What you want to do is to be thrown in the violence of the amazon. And that has totally been achieved. If it wasn't for Morgado, I'd give it a 9!
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