It begins with a disturbing howl emanating from the darkness of their poor apartment on the outskirts of São Paulo. This is no cry of despair but rather the labour yelps of the mother, Cleuza (Sandra Corveloni). The film’s excellent, dovetailed script and the liveliness of its performances provide an intimate, honest portrait of the four half-brothers: talented 18-year-old footballer Dario; messenger Dínis; religious pump attendant Dinho; and aspirant bus driver Reginaldo. The film speaks well of lived experience and difficult choices, stripped of many of the violent clichés, exaggerations and expressions of hopelessness in the face of poverty, corruption and crime depicted in some favela melodramas.
Salles and Thomas’s movie contains some extraordinary moments and its fine editing injects a dynamic cross-cutting energy. But, it must be said, there are some stiff or incredible scenes that hark back to the sentimentality of old neo-realism, while its open-ended finale leaves the viewer a little let down and unsatisfied.
Cast and crew
José Geraldo Rodrigues
Kaique Jesus Santos