Movie Break: Girl From Rio is an interesting story on trust, deception, and forgiveness
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SPECIAL NOTE: Once in a while, I thought taking a break from the usual weekly blog posting was due. So from time to time, you will get the chance to read a brief review of a film that either was shot in Brazil or featured Brazilian jazz in the soundtrack of the movie itself.
My first effort chronicles a fun yet slightly perplexing tale that is tailor made for a cheesy romance novel, for all of you ladies who like to read such things in your spare time.
No formal rating was given, but I believe it to be rated R due to some violence and mild sexual content.
Back when House was turning up the heat and the ratings for Fox in the United States, Hugh Laurie took a break from being a doctor and became an investment banker in his native United Kingdom. The film begins around Christmastime in England, and by the time Raymond tells the janitor to lock up, he picks up some magazine featuring a pretty woman on the cover.
That woman was Orlinda, a flamingo dancer and then some played so brilliantly by one-time volleyball player Vanessa Nunes. Upon arriving in Rio, he meets a rather quirky cab driver Paulo (played by Santiago Segura). At first, my mind was thinking–“Why shouldn’t I just tell him to let me off at the next corner, and find another cab to my liking?” But no. He gets not only the shaft, but he also gets treated to high stakes and fancy things.
And by the time the camera shows Orlinda teaching a samba dance class, Raymond is star-gazed. Eventually, the scene is late in February and it is pre-Carnaval time in Brazil (in other words, it is party time!) Orlinda dances up a storm while wearing a pretty red dress and thinking so much that the cab driver is her friend for life.
Eventually, all of the money (and it is quite a sum, I might add) that Raymond stole from his bank back home came back to bite him. He wakes up after a night of partying and love making ending up in a rather nightmarish situation–wondering where all of the money went. Raymond ends up underground inside a tunnel near a major road, where traffic resembles that to your favorite expressway at rush hour. Nevertheless, Raymond persists on counting the money. He is hungry, thirsty, and getting sick due to the excessive heat and no means necessary to keep him cool–not even a fan.
But somehow, with some good old American ingenuity, he escapes and somehow convinces Orlinda to tell the guards that someone else was in on the heist.
In the end, he had to end up saying good bye to Orlinda and flew his way back to London.
The security guard could not figure out why he was gone and for what reason, but in the end–it was a complex, yet very interesting story on trust and forgiveness.
The real reason to get this DVD are the short bonus interviews with both actors. Vanessa Nunes really opens up a lot about the filming process and the early struggles with learning how to samba properly. In the end, the film turned out really nice. The storyline kept things moving at a decent pace, where the viewer should not feel either lost or hurried in seeing too much action in a short period of time.
Filmed mostly in Brazil, this 2001 Lolafilms release by Casanova Pictures is definitely a keeper.