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.
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 kidnapper interviewed in the movie died in late 2006. The filmmakers said he was shot twice - in the shoulder and gut - in a shootout with police in which he killed two cops, was taken to the hospital and came out of the ambulance with a new bullet hole in his head. See more »
Sure, there's much to say about the economic inequality that has turned Sao Paulo into a violent city. But Manda Bala isn't the place to hear it. Yes, there are facts that will shock anyone thoroughly unfamiliar with Brazil's political and social problems--and even some that might surprise those who are. But it's the treatment of these issues that is so poor. The focus is on the most exploitative, gut-wrenching images rather than on true analysis, and the director doesn't have the insight to conduct a truly incisive interview.
Plus, it's not well done as a documentary--those images may be stomach-churning but not necessarily well-composed or interesting in and of themselves. And the editing leaves a lot to be desired too. At only 85 minutes, it feels way longer.
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