DVD Review – BOCA
Out on DVD next week is the film BOCA, Mike takes a look and provides us with his findings
Boca do Lixo is a story of the rise and fall of real-life criminal Hirotio (played by Daniel de Oliveria), and is based on his autobiography as we relive the life of one of São Paulo’s most feared characters.
Written and directed by Flavio Frederico, the biographical film is relatively short in comparison to other such features at a mere 93 minutes. This is a huge benefit to the film, as some comparative pieces such as Mesrine (which was split over two movies) feel drawn out and far too long in its storytelling.
Boca begins with one of the latter scenes that depict some rather graphic drug use, before rewinding back to Hirotio’s childhood and quickly cuts to him as a young man in the 50and subsequent 60’ where the majority of the film is set. His afflictions seem commonplace within the genre: booze, drugs and women (notably prostitution) all culminate to reflect his development into a dark and dangerous person.
In fact, the opening titles suggest it is more of a TV movie than something for the cinema, as the credits and theme tune feel more suited to the small screen. And having watched the DVD release for the purposes of this review, it seems like it might actually lose some of the intensity on the big screen.
As Hirotio’s social status rises along with his notoriety, we quickly learn that an evil bad ass lurks beneath his often calm and collected exterior. His temperament feels awfully familiar, as do the plot devices: a constant battle with the law, a feud with rival drug dealers/gangster types, and the token wife that stays loyal no matter what, have all been seen before in several other real-life depictions, too. But that’s not to take anything away from this; just because other infamous figures have had their lives put onto film shouldn’t detract from the relevance of this particular story.
From the early stages of the narrative we are never explicitly informed as to where the young playboy gets his wealth from – neither is his suspicious father, who early on is mysteriously knifed to death – but as the narrative progresses, we are privy to gestures, societal recognition and ‘business meetings’ that affirm his criminal position .
The overall story feels utterly unglamorous and, assuming the autobiography is 100% accurate, portrays a rather gritty and undesirable life of drug abuse and prostitution, as he is forced to scarper from the police in between short stints in jail. In fact, tonally the film tries to set up this fearful gangster of São Paulo, more specifically, The King of Boca do Lixo, but instead comes across as more of a ‘small-time’ crook, who doesn’t think things through and acts on instinct rather than common sense. Thus his numerous captures by police both make the character seem more vulnerable and somewhat believable, but at the same time also rather naive.
A few scenes after the half way point do stutter, but the general pace runs at a satisfying rate. We sees the interesting and eventful life of this person over a relatively short period of time (for the bulk of the story), but grasp the volatility of a City of God style kill-or-be-killed way of life.
Boca is hard hitting at times and remains interesting throughout. Avery strong performance from de Oliviera drives the story and can certainly compete with the likes of Vincent Cassel’s depiction in Mesrine.
There are very little in honesty. It boasts a director’s commentary, a stills montage and trailer, but the film itself is reason to check it out.
BOCA IS RELEASED ON 13TH FEBRUARY 2012 ON DVD AND BLU-RAY BY KINOSCOPIA LLC AND UNIVERSAL
About The Author – Mike Williams
Mike is a freelance film critic & script writer, earning a Masters in Fiction Film Production in 2010. An HD snob by nature, he enjoys Anime , science fiction & comedies. Notably Spirited Away, Inception & The BigLebowski. Mike can be found on twitter lurking under the handle @littlestpicshow or at his own movie blog the goes by the name The Littlest Picture Show.
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