Three teenagers who live in a Brazilian landfill spend their lives going through the waste. It’s not until one of them finds something that will change not only their lives but the lives of everyone in Brazil.
The movie was based on a book of the same name, which I’ve actually read in the past. It was a long time ago, so sadly I can’t do any comparisons between the book and movie. But what I can remember, I do believe I liked it fine. I had no idea there was a movie based on the book. My curiosity grew and then I watched it. To which the quality of it stayed true to the name, unfortunately.
The biggest problem for me was the pacing and the narrative structure. For a movie that was close to 2hrs, it felt slow and fast at the same time. There was no time for any development of any kind. That included characters, environments, situations, etc. One doesn’t get into the past/present lives of the three teens. One doesn’t spend enough time in the landfill world. For that, it made the life-threatening situation the characters were in seem uninteresting. In the first 10 minutes, the main character found the item that will set up the chain of events in the movie. I knew right away that I was going to have a problem with the pace and structure. There was no room to breathe or to get absorbed in what was happening. There needed to be more development before finding the item. So the audience can get more accustomed to the world and the characters.
The characters in the movie weren’t that engaging. I would say the best characters were the teenagers, while the adults were the worst. That goes along with their performances too. The woman teacher, played by Rooney Mara, was the worst in terms of just not wanting to question the situation she became involved in. She also seemed perfectly fine after being taken by police for questioning and coming back. As if nothing bad at all happened. There was Martin Sheen who played a priest, but he was hardly in it enough for me to comment on.
The teens delivered the most humanity in the film as they brought forth some humor and drama in this dull flick. But that was not saying much as there was little of it in here. The best scene in the movie was when the three were trying to retrieve a Bible. That was the most humorous and entertaining section. It reminded of another Brazilian film, “City of God.”
In fact, the movie at points did remind me of “City of God.” Both movies had certain young characters who lived in a poor neighborhood and wanted to escape it. Both had fast-paced editing when the action kicked in. Both had corrupt governments. Similar soundtrack. But of course, while one accomplished those many elements greatly, the other failed.
The landfill was my favorite environment in the movie and I wished it was explored more. All of the cities in the movie felt alive and thriving. There were vibrant colors and it was cool to see.
Some of the segments where the teens were deciphering the truth behind the item they found in the landfill, was a bit interesting. Though I will say they shouldn’t have had candles so close to the things they need desperately to find out what they were looking for.
There were a couple pieces of music that were good, but a lot of it didn’t land.
The dialogue wasn’t that good because it seemed to be exposition heavy for a majority. As I mentioned, the movie doesn’t take any time to establish the characters, the environments, or the situation those characters were in.
For that, I hardly cared what was going on and I would look at my phone due to something not latching onto me. Even when the main character was getting violently thrown in the cop car, I just didn’t care. Most of the drama didn’t emotionally get to me. I mean if I was looking at the movie’s script, I would argue by saying that there needed to be more development and establishment of a lot of things. Take the necessary time for worthy set-up.
As a person who read the book and remembered liking it fine, I was pretty let down by what I saw. Read the book and don’t watch the movie. I’m sure it has more emotion and more stakes than what this garbage, bland, and forgettable flick delivered.