Mike D'Angelo’s review published on Letterboxd:
[originally written as part of my TIFF '19 coverage]
Knew zilch about the film going in—saw early Cannes reports calling it nuts and avoided everything thereafter—and I commend that strategy to you. It’ll be a lot more “fun,” if that’s the right word. However, I also know pretty close to zilch about Brazilian history, past or present, and at a certain point it became clear that this ignorance was a major liability. Rousing/disturbing though the narrative is (once it finally emerges), it doesn’t make sense on any level but the allegorical; I could clearly follow what was happening, but its import was all but inaccessible to me. Imagine someone who’s never heard of capitalism or seen a mall before watching and trying to process Dawn of the Dead. Consequently, my appreciation was largely theoretical, based on the assumption that Mendonça Filho and Dornelles are surely getting at something potent with this insanity. May require a second viewing following extensive reading.