A busca: a failed Brazilian road movie

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Wagner Moura is a young Brazilian actor, internationally famous for his role as captain-colonel Nascimento in Tropa de Elite I and II. Now almost omnipresent in commercial productions in Brazil, in A busca he outdoes himself in his histrionic and egocentric interpretation of Theo, an obsessive father in search of his escaped teenage son, who unbelievably travels across two states riding a horse. The “road movie” shows a picturesque Brazilian countryside in contrast with the cosmopolitan Alfa-type male doctor. He walks favelas, crosses rivers, fights farmers, steals cell-phones from old men suffering from a cardiac condition, joins an open-air alternative music festival, helps a woman have a baby, romance a lolita, is hit by a car and exchanges his rolex for an old motorcycle…to end up finding the kid –the most expressionless young actor I’ve ever seen- and, as expected, making peace with his own father, whom he hadn’t talked to for many years; everything artificially melodramatic and with a disappointing happy ending for all audiences. I was wondering if the movie’s director and scriptwriter, Luciano Moura, was related to the actor somehow –that would have explained many things-, but that’s not the case: director of publicity and awarded 20 years ago for his short-film Os moradores da rua Humboldt, this one is his first long film, a failed one and which -citing an article I randomly found on the Internet- is not worth seeing, not even for Wagner Moura. Director Moura masters the cinematographic techniques but he doesn’t know how to tell a good story, above all because this is not one.

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