Bacurau ★★★★

In some respects, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Bacurau” can be seen as a logical continuation of the Brazilian critic-turned-auteur’s two previous features. Much like 2012’s revelatory “Neighboring Sounds,” for example, “Bacurau” is a patient and sprawling portrait of a Brazilian community as it struggles to defend itself against the dark specter of modernity. And much like 2016’s unshakeable “Aquarius,” “Bacurau” hinges on an immovably stubborn woman who refuses to relinquish her place in the world — who won’t allow our blind lust for the future to bury her meaningful ties to the past.

In some respects, however, “Bacurau” marks something of a departure for its director (who shares his credit here with Juliano Dornelles). Whereas “Neighboring Sounds” relies on acoustics to weaponize the 21st century against its characters, this film opts for actual weapons. And while “Aquarius” is a grounded character study about a retired journalist who refuses to sell her Recife apartment to a predatory development company, “Bacurau” is a gloriously demented (and lightly psychedelic) Western that starts in outer space, ends with Udo Kier being hunted by a ghost, and spends the rest of its runtime blending everything from “Seven Samurai” to “Hostel” into a bloody and unapologetic “fuck you” to anyone who thinks that cutting edge technology entitles them to see the world as their own personal slaughterhouse. So… yeah, maybe it’s also a slight change of pace.

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