(2002)

Critic Reviews

59

Metascore

Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
Whether or not Ainouz's stylish directorial debut gets to the "real" Madame Satã is beside the point, but as a celebration of a figure who fashioned his own identity from pieces of pop culture and street poetry, from song and fashion and fury, it's memorable.
75
In his thrilling feature debut, Madame Sata, Brazilian filmmaker Karim Ainouz doesn't glorify dos Santos but examines the hot, reckless fever of his life in all its thorny complexity.
70
It is a voluptuous, hot-blooded portrait of a social outcast, a black, homosexual criminal who in acting out his gaudiest Hollywood dreams, transcendently reinvented himself.
70
However intriguing from a theoretical perspective, this gorgeously shot film is first and foremost and purely sensual experience. Filled with the sights and sounds of Rio of a bygone era, the whole thing virtually pulses with excitement.
70
Variety
While it's a little shapeless and dramatically overwrought, the film remains entertaining thanks to its fascinating subject, sharp visuals and fiercely proud central performance.
63
Premiere
In this vibrant character study, newcomer Lázaro Ramos plays Francisco with an almost animal intensity.
50
No-nonsense critiques of Brazil's endemic poverty and deeply flawed criminal-justice system lend substance to what otherwise might have seemed a flimsy and sensationalistic tale.
50
New York Daily News
The movie covers only the early years of his (Joao Francisco dos Santos) rise to fame and apparently enduring legend, but the camera never pulls back to provide a social or historical context.
50
One of those films that takes up a potentially fascinating subject only to fumble it.
40
Film Threat
Madame Sata may be based on real events, but it's certainly not a very pleasant introduction to Rio's bohemian scene, circa 1931. Nor is it a very pleasant movie to endure in its own right.

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