An examination of corruption and class warfare in Brazil as told through the stories of a wealthy businessman, a plastic surgeon who assists kidnapping victims and a politician whose income relies on a frog farm.
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Several stories are told simultaneously: a frog farm in northern Brasil launders money for a corrupt politician; a young woman who was kidnapped for ransom talks about her ordeal; a plastic surgeon discusses then demonstrates how to reconstruct a severed ear; a young business man has his cars armored and takes a course in evasive driving; a policeman in Sao Paulo's anti-kidnapping squad discusses his work; a civil engineer, the attorney general, and a district attorney describe their anti-corruption efforts. Violence and corruption is Brasil: the object is money. Written by
The idea of using translators and picturing them on screen was borrowed from a presentation documentary director Errol Morris (director Jason Kohn's mentor) made for the Academy Awards, in which Mikhail Gorbachev discussed his favorite films, with a translator in the background of the shot converting the former USSR leader's Russian into English. See more »
WARNING: There are some really gross images in this film! You'll see close-ups of reconstructive surgery and it is NOT for kids or the faint of heart! Don't say you weren't warned.
Having seen several Brazilian movies like CITY OF GOD, CENTRAL STATION and THE MAN OF THE YEAR, I wasn't especially surprised when I watched SEND A BULLET--I knew that São Paulo was practically Hell on Earth due to out of control crime. Even if the crime isn't quite as bad as these films have portrayed it, it is very bad as kidnapping is practically a past-time! How a few reviewers can give this film a score of 1 and say it is full of lies is beyond me--the rise in violent crime and the birthrate are serious issues and Brazil, unfortunately, is becoming famous for this. This is a country with amazing possibilities but serious problems such as these are dooming its future. As a result, many companies are reticent to send employees there or set up shop--further increasing the gap between the haves and the have nots.
What I like about this film is that instead of reveling in violence (especially like THE MAN OF THE YEAR), the film tries to get to the heart of much of the problem. With politicians stealing and only receiving a slap on the wrist (at best) from programs designed to stimulate the economy and benefit the people, it's no wonder that the poor feel entitled to steal as well. After all, they just kidnap a few people--whereas the rich scum politician in this film rapes an entire nation! The lesson on immorality given by big-shot politicians naturally trickles down to the needy poor. Until corruption in high places is dealt with, I would agree with this documentary that personal crime would naturally follow as a sense of right and wrong must flow from the top down to the people.
By the way, don't assume I hate Brazil or am blaming them for having the only corrupt system on the planet. Here in the States, several of our large cities have similar problems. While none of the cities are as large as São Paulo and the crime rate isn't quite as bad, cities such as Washington, Newark and Detroit are highly reminiscent of São Paulo because government leaders (the mayors) are caught stealing and the cities only get more and more unlivable. These jerks claim to love the poor so much and are STILL re-elected or championed by these ill-educated people when they are caught!! Human nature is simply amazing.
Considering how worked up I got writing this review, it's obvious that this is a good film. Despite one review that said the documentary was poorly constructed, I think it was deftly made--taking all these disparate interviews and footage and weaving them into a very compelling argument. An exceptional film and one that thankfully tries to get to the root of some of the problems.
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