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Bingo: The King of the Mornings

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

This Scorsese-juiced Brazilian clown epic takes a dark tumble into the brittle ego of a performer.

If Martin Scorsese directed a film about a children’s entertainer it might look something like Brazilian biopic ‘Bingo’, inspired by the life of the country’s most famous TV clown, Arlindo Barreto (renamed Augusto, presumably to avoid legal headaches). As a rise-and-cocaine-fuelled-fall story, this is enjoyably watchable if a tad formulaic, kept alive by a boisterous and deeply sympathetic lead performance by Vladimir Brichta.

He plays Augusto, a softcore porn star in the 1980s attempting to break into soaps, but failing since his ego can’t handle playing second fiddle to big-name actors. Then one day, Augusto accidentally walks into an audition for a clown on a new kids’ TV programme and is reborn as Bingo. The show is a ratings hit, but Augusto can’t give up the perks of the porn world – drugs and sex.

What follows is a slightly generic biopic treatment, but director Daniel Rezende captures the feel of the era, assisted by a jukebox soundtrack featuring Echo & the Bunnymen and Devo. And there’s a terrific Scorsese-esque moment when Bingo, on a sweaty coke high, has a meltdown on live on TV, blood trickling from his nose. I struggled with the casually misogynist banter, which, yes, I’m sure went with the territory in TV in the ’80s. And if Pennywise from ‘It’ has left you feeling a teensy bit fragile around clowns, it’s probably best to avoid altogether.

Written by
Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 15 December 2017
  • Duration:114 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Daniel Rezende
  • Screenwriter:Luiz Bolognesi
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