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Nicolas Winding Refn
Besouro is less Oung Bak and more Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in its approach to action and story.
Let's make no mistake here; this is not a Capoeira film. It's more of a film about people that do Capoeira. The story of Besouro is one of responsibility, pendants, spiritualism, rebellion, and the understanding that ideals don't die they live on in the minds of others who take them to heart. The Film Besouro follows the main character Besouro Mangangá a legendary capoeirista from Santo Amaro, Bahia Brazil. The film is set in the jungles of Bahia in the 1920s; the story is firmly grounded in its historical time and place, when rich white landowners oppressed black workers like slaves, even after the abolishment of slavery in Brazil. The story begins when Master Alipio, who has taught the art of Capoeira to Besouro, Dinora and Quero-Quero since they were children, is brutally murdered under Besouro's watch. Besouro's guilt over how his negligence led to his Master's death sends him deep into the jungles of Bahia where Master Alipio tells his young student from beyond the grave to fight for his people. Besouro is not alone on his mission however; he is aided by the Orisha, Deity like spirits, notably Eshu (a trickster God). They give him magical powers that make his body virtually impenetrable. The story is engaging and it has a social point to make, all of it brought together with a martial arts nougat center. The action is nice, not only do you see Capoeira as it's seen normally on the street (which to the uninitiated is cool enough) but you also see it in its combative form. But sadly to some, wire fighting is sprinkled throughout the action scenes, thankfully their appearance are few and far between.
For all that the film tries to do sadly it feels a bit empty in the end. For a movie that has action, drama, mysticism, revenge, and romance it seemingly forgot to pick up character development from Soccer practice. Characters move from one emotional plot point to another with little explanation of the reasoning behind the character change. With that being said, Besouro is still an entertaining and interesting film. For those who are looking for a nonstop balls to the wall Capoeira action film I'm afraid the search will have to continue. But for those looking for a intriguing film which features an equally unique fighting style or if you simply like the style of Capoeira and wish to see a film where it's shown positively, then I feel Besouro is worth a viewing. So on a scale of "Lord of the Rings" to "Twilight" this film gets a Watchmen.
5 stars, Lord of the Rings. 4 stars, the fifth element. 3 stars, Watchmen. 2 stars, The Company of Wolves. 1 star, Twilight.
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