When two trash-picking boys from Rio's slums find a wallet in amongst the daily detritus of their local dump, little do they imagine that their lives are about to change forever. But when the local police show up, offering a handsome reward for the wallet's return, the boys, Rafael and Gardo, realize that what they've found must be important.Written by
With beautiful visuals, awesome editing and a great story, Trash is a film that should not be judged by its title
With a title like Trash, it is hard not to expect things like garbage piles and generic black plastic bags to appear on screen. One might even think, why would anyone watch a film named Trash? After all, Hollywood films can be trashy and a title like Trash does seem like a boding sign. Yet do not be fooled, all you title-judging mother****ers, Trash is absolutely nothing like its namesake.
Directed by Stephen Daldry, Trash is a story about Raphael (Rickson Tev) and his chance discovery of a wallet belonging to José Angelo (Wagner Moura). Together with friends Gador (Eduardo Luis) and Rato (Gabriel Weinstein), Raphael embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth behind the wallet, unwittingly becoming victims to corrupted politician Santos and policeman Frederico (Selton Mello). Adapted from Andy Mulligan's young adult fiction novel, Trash has a story that seems almost like a fairytale - it is only in the lala-land of literature that fourteen-year-old trash-pickers can succeed in exposing the corrupted ways of political figures without getting themselves killed. That being said, the film succeeds in translating this highly unlikely situation from book to screen without making it seem too contrived.
There are many things to look out for in Trash, like the superb editing and the wonderful cinematography by Adriano Goldman. From the mountains of trash piles to the grimy stilt houses, Goldman did a great job of capturing the decrepit beauty of these common wastelands. Chase scenes in particular, were edited well with great rhythm. Daldry's use of the boys' to-camera inserts would also be greatly appreciated by viewers who have read the novel. Seen through the to- camera inserts, the boys' frank statements better developed their characters, reflected the novel's multi-perspectives and doubled as a plot device later on in the film.
Although Tev, Luis and Weinstein can be rough around the edges with emotional scenes, their energy was infectious on screen. On the other hand, Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen paled in comparison, appearing more like decorative non-playable characters beside the boys. While Moura performed within expectation, the same cannot be said of Mello, who played the role of Frederico like an emotionless corpse. In fact, if you stare hard at the screen, you will soon come to the conclusion that even a dead grouper has eyes livelier than Mello's.
Acting aside, the only problem this reviewer has with Trash is Raphael's dogged pursuit for justice. When questioned about his actions, Raphael answered that he was doing so because "it is the right thing". In spite of that, it was the money left behind by José, and not the book accounting for Santos' corrupted dealings, that seemed to interest the boys. In this sense, the pursuit for justice seems more like an adventure for Raphael and his friends, rather than an act motivated by the decision to right a wrong. Then again, perhaps that was what made Trash so charming. In a world filled with dark, cynical views, the boys are a representation of what hope, perseverance and friendship can bring about.
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