Friday, August 28, 2009

O Matador (The Killer)

I outlined the plot of Patrícia Melo's novel back in August 2006 when we saw the film that it had been adapted into: O Homen do Ano (The Man of the Year).

Máiquel was played there by Murilo Benício as a careless ingenu who never quite squanders our sympathy as he makes his way along a Tony Montana-like career path.

That all his misfortune and that of his victims can be traced back to an unfortunate wager which prompted this ineffectual gamma-male to change his hair-colour and with it to transform himself into a dark angel of social sanitisation is an ever-present visual joke in the film.

The gags are generally thinner on the ground in O Matador. ("I stood on my head for fifteen minutes. The coke still wasn't working.") and the outrageous social implications of this story are given the full overtone treatment.

Melo's Máiquel is a more transparently psychotic individual, whose compassionate asides are swept away by sudden tsunamis of incontinent savagery.

The key female character — Érica — is also handled considerably more perceptively than by screenwriter Fonesca.

It's still a fun, ironic and stylish experience, but falls short of being a significant piece of Latin American literature; a failure I've put down to the intermittent hokeyness of Melo's stream of consciousness format.

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