Bacurau (2020)

Directors: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles
Runtime: 132 Minutes
Certification: 18
Starring: Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Thardelly Lima, Rubens Santos, Wilson Rabelo, Carlos Francisco, Luciana Souza, Karine Teles, Julia Marie Peterson

From the opening moments, we see Teresa (Bárbara Colen) making a journey in a water truck, passing coffins along the road. She's returning to Bacurau, intent on paying respects to her dearly departed grandmother, the town's 94 year old matriarch. From then on, the citizens notice strange occurrences happening to their small town. The water supply has been cut off, their location has vanished from satellite maps, and animals are stampeding through their streets.

It's reasonable to believe, from early on, what type of film you'd be getting here. But any expectations are turned on their head, as the writing/directing duo of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles have other things on their mind. At a certain point, the film ventures far off the reservation, and takes a sudden shift in tone and focus. It's difficult to shake how jarring it feels, or how the film stalls in some instances, but this thankfully doesn't last. What happens is too engrossing to let these hurdles slow it down.

The essence of this story is a heartwarming ideal, centring around a small-town community who put aside their past differences and come together, intent on embracing their home against all odds. This occurs is very dark, playing out with touches of exploitation cinema and westerns, and never afraid to soak itself in blood. A pretty stark contrast to the potentially fluffy premise. But above all else, this is a film unafraid at letting the depths of its anger known. A prominent figure, casting a shadow over the town, is a corrupt and self-interested politician (quelle surprise!) . He looks to win votes for an upcoming election, but when bombarded by calls to answer for his horrendous actions, he's more interested in twisted it all into a victory. It's surely a parallel for figures we know all too well, and make it clear the filmmakers are mad as hell, and want the politicians to sort their mess out. A sentiment we can all relate to.