Dir. Flavio Federico. Brazil. 2010.

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Flavio Federico directs the visceral and intense dramatic depiction of Hiroito, the infamous King of Boca de Lixo, starring Daniel de Oliveira in the title role.

Following on from the cinematic appeal and acclaim of Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, it seems Brazil much like British film in the late 1990s and early 21st century has found a niche by going to the dark past of its recent social history for dramatic intent.

Boca follows Hiroito from the violent murder of his father, which the young boy witnessed as he was stabbed over 40 times with a razor.  Oddly, the young boy was arrested and accussed of the crime, ultimately he was acquited.  Then two months later, aged just 21 he moved to Boca de Lixo (an area of downtown Sao Paolo in the 1950s renowned for nightclubs, prostitution, bars and drugs), purchased two guns and grew to become one of the most successful criminals in Brazil. 

The film richly depicts his violence against fellow criminals, the glamour of the girls, the viscerality of the guns as Hiroito becomes the legendary gangster figure in Brazil.

Gangsters remain glamourous figures in cinema, due to the intense nature of their upbringing - as young men who really want attention and yet end up on the wrong side of the law.

De Oliveira portrays Hiroito as a man with a big chip on his shoulder who backs up his words with lots of actions, whilst never hamming up or chewing up too much scenery.

The film is cleverly filmed with a lot of hand-held camerawork to make you feel a part of the action, making the experience a worthwhile one on the small screen.

Boca was released on DVD by Universal Pictures from Monday 13th February 2012.

Jamie Garwood

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