Starring Wagner Moura, Rooney Mara, Andre Ramiro, Nelson Xavier, Martin Sheen, Selton Mello,
There seems to be more trivia about Trash being the first film of Stephan Daldry’s that didn’t receive an Oscar nomination than the film itself. Sure the title might be off putting initially, but this Slumdog Millionaire type film about hope, friendship and doing the right thing has its moments. The Billy Elliott director as usual takes us into an uncomfortable and unusual place involving children. His first film since the divisive Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), Trash is an adventure-mystery that features mostly unknown actors, minus Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Pan) and Sheen (The West Wing) with limited, but effective screen time.
Jose Angelo (Moura) is a poor 14-year-old kid who works in the Brazilian landfill instead of attending school. His friends Raphael (Rickson Tevez) and Marco (André Ramiro) also work the trash, but on this day, Jose discovers a purse filled with cash and a public locker key. Before the kids even have a chance to enjoy their newly discovered fortune, the police and a detective show up offering a reward for finding this item. Jose refuses to hand it over, feeling compelled to find who it belonged to, and what the numbers written inside and the key open. Jose and his friends become the most wanted people in the city as the information in their possession implicates high ranking government officials.
At two hours with lots of running and hiding, Trash does suffer from a bit of exhaustion at the hands of its editor.
When asked why he is doing this, Jose replies simply, “Because it’s right”. Daldry, his co-director Christian Duurvoort, and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Bridget Jones Diary) surprised me with the friendship and kindness constantly shown within this group of kids. Even the local community, whether realistically or not, always risk their lives to help their fellow Brazilian. At two hours with lots of running and hiding, Trash does suffer from a bit of exhaustion at the hands of its editor. Intertwined within the film is footage of the boys talking to the camera, explaining their ordeal, but this useless bit of information only works to dilute some of the films more suspenseful, life threatening moments.
It’s pretty obvious why Trash isn’t getting a big release in America, with the family friendly message mixed with R-rated language and violence, it’s impossible to market. Not to mention it certainly casts a dark light on what Americans might think of Brazil and it’s tourism that disguises the poverty. Distributer Focus World has already opened it internationally and it will be available on demand in the US in October. It’s also the third major release for Mara in 2015, each project really adds to her growing range of talent.
Daldry’s least affecting work, but has its triumphant moments.