The Movie Binge

Review: Lower City

20060622lower.jpg
You idiots, it's not, "Hos before Bros."

I'll just state the most important part of this review first, and then get to what works for this movie. DO NOT SEE LOWER CITY WITH YOUR PARENTS. It's a sleazy sexy violent movie. I felt like I should've been wearing a trenchcoat in the theater.

Yeah, this movie's about a working girl and the brain surgeons that love them. The film wastes no time establishing Karinna's credentials, about five minutes after her introduction she negotiates a ride to El Salvador with a "cash, grass or ass nobody rides for free" motto sporting pair of fellas named Deco and Naldinho. She does not pay with money or weed. This is about as good as it gets for any the three starcrossed lovers.

When the next town they roll into results in Naldinho getting stuck with a shiv, Karinna sticks around to help, so maybe she's the hooker with a heart of gold. Well, nobody ever said being a sweetie made one a genius. The rest of the movie sees the trio fuck with each other's hearts past the breaking point, destroying friendships and futures.

That's it in a nutshell, there's a hell of a lot of drinking in between (I didn't see a character voluntarily imbibe water), screwing, and day to day living, but it's all just cover for those moments when the love triangle plays itself out. It makes them all mighty unsympathetic to watch, just for being so predictable, like a crew of snotty ten year old's they just can't help destroying themselves. It makes you want to send them into the corner for a timeout.

What worked? Well, the acting was solid. No punches were pulled, that's for sure. Additionally, the atmosphere has an excellent gritty and dark feel to it, which owes a lot to City of God, the other Brazilian movie I can safely reference. I'm thinking their ministry of tourism isn't too thrilled with the image that's getting exported.

It's always cool to get a glimpse of cities, towns and neighborhoods that aren't touted by said tourism industry. And that's what you get here with Lower City, a movie that makes its way through locales that while clearly seedy aren't quite the bombed out slums of City of God. The camera spends a lot of time in residential districts that house the hustlers, wageslaves and red light district types. Neat.

To sum-up, if you're interested in seeing a few good looking people get naked and act up in a foreign locale go see Lower City. If not, then don't, see if I care.

Two asides:

-Landmark Sunshine on Houston is one of the only theaters I've been to in ages that doesn't run silly ads/trivia before the movie begins. It's a nice feeling to be able to just zone out and relax, and in fact makes the previews feel a bit more welcome.
-The actress who played Karinna was also in City of God. How about that.