Lower City DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

This film makes Y Tu Mama Tambien look like an After School Special.
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
This film makes Y Tu Mama Tambien look like an After School Special.
THE BAD
Palm Pictures sadly did not include a DVD with any Special Features.
THE FEATURE
I didn't really care about Lower City until I found out that Alice Braga was in it. Remembering her as the "groovy" girl in City of God, I figured any film with her is certainly worth watching. Now, you might think I am talking about the fact that she spends about 50% of her time on screen in the nude. While this is certainly not a problem, she and co-stars Lazaro Ramos and Wagner Moura all turn in great performances.

Deco (Ramos) and Naldinho (Moura) are two best friends who make their living doing small crimes and driving their boat. Things change when they give prostitute/stripper Karinna (Braga) a ride. After both taking turns with her, a deep connection forms and as we see Deco and Naldinho grow further apart that only brings them closer to Karinna. Eventually, these two friends become sworn enemies and while the ending of the film is a bit ambiguous, it ends up being (of all things) hopeful.
THE EXTRAS
The disc sent to us by Palm Pictures included no Special Features. To their credit, they let us know that on the packaging.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen. Shot handheld with jump cuts in some of the seediest places I have ever seen, this movie oozes both life and culture. I love the fact that the Director was able to keep me oriented throughout the film, and that even though the story wasn't implicitly stated, I followed everything perfectly. On DVD, it seems like the colors of the film, especially the outfits Braga wears have also been brought out more.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital. In Portuguese with English subtitles. As this film was in another language, I started off spending more time reading it than I did watching it. However, what happened (and this happened with City of God too) is that I got so caught up in the film eventually the language barrier no longer mattered.
THE PACKAGE
As I didn't get a regular copy of this DVD, my review of the packaging isn't going to be that accurate. Also, this vinyl cover is similar to that that we might find on a $1 DVD. The front cover features a shot of the Brazilian skyline and below that it shows our main characters engaged in a threesome. The back offers up a shot from the film, a description of what it's about and some technical specs.
THE FINAL WORD
This isn't the kind of film that one can watch all the time but it certainly is one worth seeing. The performances by all the actors are top notch and I think it's truly amazing the amount of solid films we are getting from that side of the world. I didn't think that Director Sergio Machado did anything much different from some of the other directors that come those areas, there is a richness and liveliness to all of their films that makes them stand out. I don't know where these actors study but none of their performances leave any kind of a false note.

For people that like their movies to be a bit dangerous, you will certainly want to check out Lower City.

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