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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Very, very impressive

Author: AndrewPalmer from Los Angeles
24 September 2002

I've seen films in Portuguese language made in Brazil but I think this is the first Portuguese film I've seen that is actually made in Portugal... And no doubt one of the most hypnotizing and exciting action comedies I've ever seen.

The story takes place on Christmas and centers on Alex, whose life has been a flood of misfortunes. Miserable, he decides to take his life. He drinks a toxic mixture and waits for it to take its effect... As the minutes pass, his life suddenly is turned upside down by a serious of events that give him a whole new reason to face the world. His new found strength is tested as he sets out on this crazy adventure in search of the only antidote that can save him.

Fernando Fragata's "Chasing Life" offers nearly 90 minutes of torture; but thankfully, of the good kind. Anyone can really sympathize with having an excruciatingly bad day, but Alex Ventura's (chimney cleaner) hell, is by far the funniest ever put on celluloid. This is a movie that almost physically hurts to watch. You get so drawn in to the situation that it feels like it's you stuck there. The movie keeps on balancing between funny and tragic, it never falls and the situations have enough realism to keep you on the edge of your seat. This is simply a story about a guy having the worst day of his life.

Rating: 9/10

Most Memorable Movie Moment: The stone hitting the car and pushing it down the cliff.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly wonderful film!

Author: MagicSilver
15 September 2002

Non-stop, compelling and hilarious at the same time, CHASING LIFE is the kind of movie you simply can't walk away from. A breathless exercise in full-speed-ahead storytelling, it never once falters; never once trips over its own intentions. The camera work is great and the Police shoot out scenes are excellent considering the limited budget. Superb performance of Helder Mendes. Recommended viewing. Just remember to fasten your seatbelt.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: GhostOfMagellan from UK
29 July 2002

A perfect action dark comedy movie with great performances. The directing, the story and acting are brilliant. The story doesn't slow down and you might expect a rather stupid plot in an action comedy movie, but it's not. This happens to have a really good plot. It's exciting, hilarious and makes the adrenaline rush through your body. It's non-stop action and leaves you breathless till the very the end! Very surprising for a film that comes from Portugal. 9 out of 10!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Funny, ironic and action packed!

Author: Ricardo Oliveira from Lisbon, Portugal
11 March 2002

This is definitely the best Portuguese film I've seen in a long, long time! Actually, I had already lost hope of watching an interesting Portuguese film. Needless to say, I was completely surprised by this one. Not only it tells us a thrilling story but it goes deeper by playing sarcastically with life and death. Imagine a suicidal man that wants nothing but to live! It's life's irony at its best! The lead actor's performance (newcomer Helder Mendes) is just superb. Amazingly, this is the first Portuguese action film ever made and a brilliant one it is! Thank you so much Fernando Fragata for bringing back to life, the art of making movies in Portugal!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Delightful story, wonderful acting, beautifully made!

Author: winoscar2000 from London, UK
20 September 2002

This film really is a small gem. I saw this film at a private screening. The fact that I had to read subtitles because it was shot in Portuguese didn't take any of the limelight away from a dazzling script and a fantastic 85 minutes fantasy. Suffice to say that I am not easily impressed, but I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed this movie on all levels. It is essentially a romance, even though the hero and heroine spend few scenes together. Digging deeper, one discovers that it's also about the role of fate in every day life. Great twists and turns. Sometimes dark, sometimes sweet but always hilarious. CHASING LIFE is definitely worth 85 minutes of your life!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A fun and creative movie that doesn't feel in any way set down by its relatively low budget

Author: henriquedematos from Portugal
26 June 2014

It's pretty clear "Portugal" and "action thrillers" don't go along generally. Like in most of southern Europe, Portuguese cinema mostly revolves around not-so-successful attempts at making expressionist and art-house films, and when they try to make action ones, they end up in incredibly cheesy attempts at mimicking American cinema - 100Volta (2009) is an hilarious example of that.

And with that said, Pulsação Zero, a television movie first broadcast in 2002 in the Portuguese channel SIC, is an amazing exception that shows there is actual good cinematographic talent in Portugal - Even if obscure and barely funded.

The movie revolves around Alex, a man who starts his day breaking up with his girlfriend, watching his loyal dog progressively getting sicker and finally discovers he has AIDS - And, seeing his life in a completely miserable state, decides to share some euthanasia poison with his dog in hopes of dying during sleep. That is when, as he checks his answering machine while laying down and hopefully giving in into his faith, he ends up being completely surprised and regaining his will to live - Right after throwing the antidote into the garbage. What follows is a tense, action-filled and often incredibly humorous chase for the antidote around the city of Lisbon, that ends up involving his best friend, his girlfriend, a priest and a band of bandits.

Exactly as you WOULDN'T expect from a Portuguese movie, it is thrilling and fast-paced - Whether in car chases or finding himself in the middle of gunfights, the protagonist goes through the wildest adventures to find the antidote, even with a mildly predictable but nonetheless hilarious twist near the end.

Visually, it looks like anything but a low budget TV movie - The cinematography is great, easily comparable with your average American blockbuster, with everything from the lighting to each shot properly organized and created in the most appropriate way possible. In technical terms, the action scenes are also pretty good - Of course, being a TV movie, they aren't THAT hardcore and don't have anything Fast and Furious level, but they definitely are good enough to go along with the great story and keep you on the edge of your seat. The soundtrack, even though being mostly simple ambient songs, is also quite fitting and helps to set the mood.

Sure, it isn't always perfect - As said before, there are a few predictable events here and there, and while the acting is in no way bad, it is still pretty much average Portuguese TV acting - Not exactly the greatest for international movie standards, which is a pity because that might just be the only thing that sets it away from being comparable to international cinema - Though in just about everything else, it can be easily on par with movies from countries that actually make cinema, like America, Germany and Canada.

And having something that is at least on the level of those in Portugal is definitely rare. It's not just a small movie that can be described as "It's good for Portuguese standards", it's a small but incredibly creative and fun movie that is actually good for international standards. If you're looking for a fine action thriller with a great touch of comedy, and don't mind the fact that it's foreigner and you will probably have to watch it subtitled, this is a great choice.

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