Man Of The Year, The (O Homem Do Ano) (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/08/2003

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 113 mins
In Portuguese with English subtitles

The second best Brazilian thriller of the year, this is similar to City of God and Amores Perros, though it’s let down by a disappointing final act.

In the last couple of years, South America has produced some terrifically exciting thrillers, such as City of God, Nine Queens and Amores Perros, many of which have made it onto several critics’ best of the year lists. Thematically, Man of the Year has a lot in common with City of God (both films are Brazilian, both deal with life as a street gangster, both use voiceover) but it’s ultimately let down by a weak final act.

Slacker Loses Rag

Murilo Benicio stars as Maiquel, a good-looking but blank-faced Brazilian layabout, who loses a football bet and dyes his hair blonde. When out on a date with his stunningly gorgeous hairdresser Cledir (Claudia Abreu), Maiquel is taunted as a fag by local thug Suel. His male pride injured, Maiquel agonises for a while...and then guns down Suel from behind.

At that point the plot seems easy to predict, but ironically, Maiquel gains immediate respect from the locals, who shower him with gifts, including an extremely cute pet pig. Even the police are pleased and they thank him for ridding the streets of 'that scumbag'.

Then, badly in need of some expensive dental work, Maiquel finds himself "doing a favour" for his dentist and soon finds himself as a vigilante for hire, ridding the streets of thugs, rapists and criminals.

Exciting, Sexy, Darkly Funny

Meanwhile, his growing relationship with Cledir suffers a slight setback when Suel's sexy 15 year old girlfriend Erica (Natalia Lage) moves herself into his flat and demands that he look after her...

For the first ninety minutes, Man of the Year is exciting, sexy, darkly funny and fun to watch. The main characters are well drawn and there are some terrific scenes, such as: the intensely erotic hair-dying scene; Maiquel’s disastrous birthday party; and every scene between Maiquel and Erica (who has a vague Natalie Portman quality about her).

The film is also beautifully shot, but it doesn't quite have the same breath-taking sense of style as either Amores Perros or City of God and the story eventually begins to drag. Similarly, it isn't quite strong enough to sustain its running time of nearly two hours and the final act of the film is weak and disappointing.

That said, if you liked Amores Perros or City of God, the chances are that you’ll like this too – it’s almost a great film, but not quite. Worth seeing though.

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Content updated: 18/12/2017 10:58

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