HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:76
“Trash” was another one of those films that completely slipped under my radar. I saw the preview months ago, but since it wasn’t a major summer blockbuster it kind of just went to “I’ll check that out sometime” list, only to have it show up on my doorstep to review, triggering that memory once more. Popping it in I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t pay much attention to the description and kind of went in pretty blind, besides know that it was the latest by famed director Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot”, “The Reader” etc). Completely done in Brazilian Portuguese, the only hints of English language is given from Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen, leaving the rest of the natural Brazilian cast to take the brunt of the acting. I came out of the viewing very pleasantly surprised, as Daldry has crafted an interesting film that straddles the line between thriller and slice of life drama quite well. There’s a few hiccups here and there, but overall it’s a riveting 2 hour piece that had my eyes glued to the subtitles the whole time.
The film opens with a couple of children making a last testament video, as they describe how the police are after them for something and how they will probably be dead soon. Immediately flashing back we see just why they’re in the predicament they are in. A young man by the name of Jose Angelo (Wagner Moura) has something of great importance to a certain Senator by the name of Santos (Stepan Nercessian). Pursued and hunted by the local police, he is tortured and killed, but not before he throws some damning evidence into a garbage truck as it passed underneath. Fast forward to the present and we see kids working the local dump in search of valuables and general maintenance of the place. Orphaned and living at a catholic church/orphanage, 14 year olds Gardo (Eduardo Luis) and Raphael (Rickson Tevez) find the wallet that Jose threw away before he died.
Taking what little money was in the wallet (which is a fortune to the children), the boys don’t realize that the key contained within will lead them to something much more incredible and much more dangerous. When the Brazilian police investigator comes around with a reward for the safe return of the wallet, Gardo and Raphael realize that there is something more that they’re missing. Using the key they and another street urchin find the contents that the senator so desperately wants. The contents that will not only unravel his life, but the corruption and evil that is so pervasive in the Brazilian government still. Terrified at what they have in their hands, but so wanting to do the right thing, Gardo and Raphael, with the help of Father Julliard (Martin Sheen) and his assistant Olivia (Rooney Mara) unweave the clues that allow them to finish what Jose Angelo started, risking the same fate as the young man.
The title “Trash” brings to mind a very dirty and grungy mental image. One that is very TRUE in some senses of the word, but the movie also manages to keep very upbeat and heroic undertones active throughout. The three boys in the film struggle as trash workers, and the vibe is very “foreign” if you know what I meant. However Daldry’s sensibilities shine through as you can see the more heroic and traditional motives for the 14 years come to light. Much of the film is split between the boys struggle to survive, while the other half turns the movie into a political thriller where the young children have to piece together a political plot that threatens to take the boys lives. Corrupt police officers that eclipse anything you’ve ever seen in America (as much as there is some tension between the police and certain citizens in America, what we see here is the smallest infinitesimal amount of corruption in comparison to the rampant evil that happens in Brazil), hidden political plots, and a people’s rebellion that is the crux of the whole thing.
I commend Daldry for really only having two Hollywood big name actors. Martin Sheen and Mara do a great job at blending into the Latin environment, sent there as missionaries and priest’s, they can be a fish out of water while still adding a sense of legitimacy to the film. However, the real stars are in the three main children. Eduardo, Gabriel, and Rickson all are fantastic as the orphaned and tortured children. There is a sense of naivety and intensity that most children actors can’t seem to grasp without acting stilted. Their simple actions and reactions seem organic and never prompted, although sometimes a line or two will escape their mouth that belies their Hollywood scripting.
Rated R for violence and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59545[/img]The 2.35:1 scope image looks fantastic on Blu-ray, with great contrast levels, amazing color saturation and great blacks. The movie is set in Brazil, and as with many foreign movies, there is a hint of golden yellow to the color grading scale, and an emphasis on earthy browns and yellows and oranges. A few primary colors shine though the mix, but image maintains a very earthy look throughout. Detail is amazing, showing every bit of dirt and grime on the boy’s bodies, as well as every cut and trickle of blood from Jose’s torture as well. Blacks are deep and inky, with no signs of crush or banding. I did notice some softness here and there on wide angle shots, but that was relegated only to a handful of scenes.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59553[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA Brazilian Portuguese track is more than capable of getting the job done. The dynamic range is actually pretty wide, with the Latin score pulsing through at random intervals, and more than enough action to keep the dialog company. Said dialog is crisp and clean, with no signs of any distortions or problems with the vocals. LFE is tight and punchy, adding it’s heft when necessary, including a few gunshots as well as a roaring car chase as Raphael is beaten and abused by the corrupt police.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Andrew Mulligan, “Trash” is a wonderful little multi genre film that walks a tightrope between Hollywood fantasy and a foreboding sense of crushing realism. You can relate to the pain and poverty these children live in without feeling that it is shrouded in too much Hollywood veneering, but at the same time the revolutionary political plots add enough escapism to allow for a fun bit of entertainment. Audio and video look great, with the only downside to the entire package being the complete absence of any extras on the disc. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis, Gabriel Weinstein, Martin Sheen, Rooney Mara
Directed by: Stephen Daldry, Christian Duurvoort
Written by: Felipe Braga, Richard Curtis
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: Portuguese: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Turkish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 17th, 2015
Buy Trash Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for a Watch
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