Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"A Wolf at the Door", a dark thriller from Brazil following old Hollywood paradigms, with an even nastier ending

A Wolf at the Door” (“O Lobo atras da Proto”) is a “film noir” thriller from Brazil by Fernando Coimbra, based on a true story according to the director.  But the plot bears some resemblance to classics like “Double Indemnity”, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, and even “Body Heat”. But the twist at the end is even more gruesome.
It starts as if it were going to be a kidnapping case (like “Ransom”).  Sylvia (Fabiula Nascimento) finds her child has been picked up by a mysterious woman at school.  Police summon the somewhat estranged husband Bernardo (Milhem Cortaz) which leads police then to question the mistress Rosa (Leandra Leal).  But quickly the film moves away from conventional kidnapping genre (no money demands) into the illicit affair between Bernardo and Rosa, which in turn falls into stress as Berbardo has second thoughts.  At first Rosa doesn’t even know he is married (which sounds hard to believe). Eventually, Rosa seeks her own revenge and its as horrific as it gets.  The closing credits say she made no apologies and didn’t even want a lawyer for trial.
The screenplay tends to emphasize long takes, often indoors, of intimate scenes or personal confrontations, moving away from the external mystery.
The film is shot around Rio de Janeiro, and the scenes with Rosa in the suburbs are grungy and appropriately unsettling, as the cinematography shows up the gap between rich and poor in a city that wants the Olympics.
I watched a screener on Vimeo from Strand, and it was not high-def or of the best quality.  The film is wide-screen anamorphic. The DVD is available Aug. 25. 

The official site is here. The film screened at the San Sebastian (Spain) film festival.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Leblon, by Chensiyuan, under Creative Commons 4.0 Share-Alike license


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