Best Friends Battle for Ho’s Hand in Brazilian Love Triangle
Deco (Lazaro Ramos) and Naldinho (Wagner Moura), best friends since childhood, are petty thieves who scratch out a living hustling contraband up and down the river on their modest motor boat. One black, one white, their bond is so close that Naldinho was willing to fight, barehanded, the knife-wielding racist who had referred to his pal by the N-word in a bar. So, it seems that nothing would ever come between the two, at least until the fateful day that the pair crosses paths with Karinna (Alice Braga), a
frisky, flirtatious whore in need of a ride to the City of Salvador where she planned to find customers by working at a strip club. A deal is struck when she agrees to pay for her passage with sexual favors. However, both guys fall passionately in love with the pretty prostitute when she turns their contraband runner into a pleasure craft, so to speak.
A tortured love triangle, marked mostly by jealousy and obsession, ensues,
undermining Deco and Naldinho’s partnership and trust of each other. Karinna, meanwhile, appears to enjoy the attention of two sensitive men capable of seeing her as more than a quick score. Still, she always appears to be debating whether she might be better off just dumping these two losers for a gringo sugar-daddy she could fleece.
Lower City is as visually-captivating as City of God, another gritty, Brazilian, ghetto-based drama. But this flick is actually a more engaging film, given its alternately steamy and sophisticated storyline, combined with the palpable chemistry generated among its three lead characters. For Messrs. Ramos and Moura also happen to be best friends in real-life, while Ms. Braga (niece of Sonia Braga) threw herself with abandon into a demanding role which called for her to be naked and in heat nearly non-stop,
whether in a bed with a boyfriend or one of her assortedy Johns.
Hot! Hot! Hot!
Excellent (4 stars)