As its title suggests, Lower City inhabits a dark world, but it's one kept buoyant by its sense of optimism.
Love is complicated – that's the message of Sérgio Machado's debut feature, Lower City, a sweat-soaked love triangle between two chancers Deco and Naldinho, and beautiful prostitute, Karinna.
Their struggle to keep her away from the brothels, and to win her for themselves makes for an engaging film of raw energy. Think of it as a twisted counterpart to Y Tu Mama Tabien, driven by violence rather than humour.
As its title suggests, Lower City inhabits a dark world, but it's one kept buoyant by its sense of optimism. Even at their lowest ebb Deco and Naldinho are well aware that, like any holiday romance, the passion and desperation that felt so important will soon transpire as just another experience on the road to adulthood – formative and important nonetheless.
Exec producer Walter Salles will whet appetites beyond the film's modest expectations.
Engaging, exciting (in parts) and full of energy.
It's got all the clunk of a first film, but plenty of promise for the future.