Last night I saw the film, Manda Bala. I hadn't heard much about it beforehand, mostly because there was no room left to promote this film since every single advertising space online and offline was already occupied by the cast and crew of SUPERBAD. But I read a really positive review of it last week (in Tiger Beat) and then was further suckered in by the film's nicely designed poster, which features both a frog and a speeding bullet--two of my all-time favorite themes in cinema.
Manda Bala was easily the best movie I've seen all year. Easily. It's also, next to Errol Morris' Thin Blue Line, the best-looking documentary I've ever seen. The movie is bananas. A frog farm. Grainy footage from a video sent to the family of a kidnapping victim. A doctor sculpting a human ear out of rib cartilage. Brazil's most powerful politician. A defensive driving course for owners of bulletproof cars. And all of these crazy, far-flung elements perfectly linked together to form a picture of systemic corruption and class disparity in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (And, really, the rest of the world.)
This movie made me say "oh, God" more times than Oh, God, Oh, God: Book II, and Oh, God, You Devil combined—which is to say, it made me say "oh, God" twice. And there are at least five separate scenes more unbelievable than the part in TRANSFORMERS when all the giant robots have to hide from Shia LaBoeuf's parents so they curl up in balls and sneak behind trees and put dog houses on their heads and give each other the "shh!" finger, instead of actually transforming into cars and just parking on the street. It's that good.
I don't like to say this...I didn't want it to come to this...but if you don't at least make an effort to see Manda Bala, I hate you. I wish more reviews ended that way.