Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.
Director Stephen Daldry
Writer Richard Curtis
Cast Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen, Wagner Moura
AGE RESTRICTION: [?]
This is a movie about kids, but it isn’t a kids movie. There’s nothing major to freak out a young adult, but it’s def not for the kiddie-winkles.
Loved it! It’s just a great film. Exciting, interesting, scary, suspenseful, satisfying, and full of colour and character. It’s an art film, because it’s mostly in Portuguese and because it’s way different from most of what Hollywood churns out, but that is its greatest strength.
After finding a discarded wallet on the trash dump that they scavenge for a living, three boys embark on a quest to solve the mystery it contains and right the wrongs that delivered it into their hands. Helped by a wayward priest and a foreign English teacher they take on the city’s most powerful “…because it is right.”
If you’ve seen some of the other movies that have come out of Rio De Janeiro in the past few years, films like City of God, City of Men (actually a TV miniseries), Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, then you’ll know that their actors are amazing, bringing a vitality and realism to the screen seldom seen amongst the Hollywood sheen. Trash is no exception. All the performances are gritty and enthralling. Amazing since many of them are delivered by children. The three leads of the film are no older than 15 and they are all brilliant. The adults in the film all hold their own with the kids, from the saintly Jose Angelo to the scariest cop in Rio, all are breathtaking. The cast is rounded out, for a little punch, by Hollywood greats Rooney Mara, and Martin Sheen, who are both their usual brilliant selves. It’s worth seeing for the performances alone.
Directing and writing
This is where things get a little weird. All the films I mentioned above are helmed and made by local Brazillians. Their films are intensely and intrinsically linked to their locales and their environments, embodying and encapsulating the frenetic energy and pulse of Rio and Brazil. Something that feels like it could only be done by a local. But apparently not, Trash accomplishes this to no lesser degree. But it is directed by British director Stephen Daldry, known for films like Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. All very different films to Trash. But Daldry doesn’t disappoint. The film is racey and pacey and full of life. The small moments are as powerful as the big ones and the characters are deeply seductive.
The writing delivers another knock to the head surprise. Richard Curtis has previously penned films like Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, About Time, to mention a few. HE THE BRITISH ROM-COM GUY! Well not this week aparently because here he’s written a taut and compelling action/drama/thriller in Portuguese. And done it as well as he’s done anything.
This is a great film. It’s something a little different, and that’s why you should see. That and the fact that it’s brilliant.