by Xavier Toby in New Film on Friday 18 June 2010

Kidnappings, murder, high level corruption and ear reconstruction are all part of life in Brazil’s Sao Paulo. The best documentaries cover all angles of a story, and here, nobody has been left out. The police, the government, potential victims and actual victims, a kidnapper, along with a plastic surgeon, the guy who makes bullet proof cars, and a frog farmer all get screen time. It’s a fascinating look into the endemic corruption that’s part of Brazil’s government, and the way the poor are driven to crime.

The kidnapper here is actually the most interesting character as he describes his ‘job’ as a way of life and means of supporting not just his family but the whole community. Some of the interviews, such as the plastic surgeon who redesigns the ears of people who’ve lost them during a kidnapping may have been unnecessary, and blaming the crime at a basic level on top level corruption feels a little forced, but still a compelling and gripping look into brutal real life kidnappings and the rampant stealing that Brazil allows it’s politicians to get away with.