Lower City

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Lazaro Ramos, Wagner Moura, Alice Braga, Maria Menezes
Director: Sergio Machado

Karinna (Alice Braga), a young hooker heading to Salvador is offered a ride on a boat by two men, Naldinho (Wagner Moura) and Deco (Lazaro Ramos). They expect sexual favours from her so she informs them that her price is $50 plus the boat ride. They haggle the price down to $40 for the both of them. After servicing both of them, the following day they drop off cargo supplies at Cachoeira. While there Naldinho bets $100 on a cockfight and loses. The local who won the cockfight money from Naldinho taunts both men to the point where he attacks them and Naldinho is stabbed.

They struggle back to boat with a bleeding Naldinho and they find a doctor who sees to his wound. Short on cash, Deco goes to businessman Dois Mundos (Dois Mundos) looking for cargo to transport but Deco is told that there is no cargo as business is slow but he does offer up illegal work which Deco turns down. To make ends meet, Deco considers going back to boxing.

Karinna hooks the two men up with her friends at the local whorehouse who are finding that their business is also a bit slow. Since the sailors docked at port cannot be bothered to visit the whorehouse, the prostitutes call round to them instead. The two men are offered a five percent cut to transport the women around. Meanwhile, Dois Mundos finally comes through and the guys have cargo to deliver but this is not enough for Naldinho and he robs a drugstore. With his newfound wealth, he tells Karinna that he wants to take her away from all of this and give her a better life. When she refuses, Naldinho tells her that she must choose which one she wants to be with. Will this love triangle end the long-term friendship between the two men?

The story is told at a decent enough pace to keep your attention throughout. The characters are a bit two dimensional and predictable but it is their surroundings and the situation they find themselves in that offers up some unexpected twists in the story. Not many of those are plot points, which are only there to steer the story. The ending is predictable enough, as if we have not seen that happen before in other movies. If this movie were real, then we have to believe that every ten movie minutes, men suffer a distinct lack of blood-flow to the head. As they say in the movie, “Phat”.

4 out of 6 stars

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