Directed by Fernando Coimbra
Starring Fabíula Nascimento, Milhem Cortaz, & Leandra Leal
Film review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
Wolf at the Door follows the chilling tale of a kidnapped little girl and the torment of her parents in the events that follow. What starts off as a clear cut case of kidnap set in Rio de Janeiro soon turns into a wicked story of love, jealousy and revenge.
When Sylvia (Fabíula Nascimento) finds out that her 6 year old daughter has been picked up from school by a stranger, police start to question everyone involved including herself, the girl’s school teacher and her husband Bernardo (Milhem Cortaz). Interesting revelations do come to light, including the details of Bernardo’s secret affair with a young woman called Rosa (Leandra Leal), who detectives believe to be the number one suspect. But who is responsible?
In order to conceal the twist and the true culprit, the film seems to be split into two parts - the lie that the main suspect, Rosa, wants us to believe and what actually happened. Intertwining all these suspects is a no-nonsense detective. It is as if the first section is indeed much more light-hearted and comical in comparison to the latter half. It is as if the director meant to make the audience feel sorry for the suspects and by doing this, viewers are meant to be more shocked by the events that unfold. It is also during the latter half that Leal gives her best performance.
To think that this film is based on true events just makes for an even more chilling experience, as you witness abuse, betrayal, forced abortions and a chilling homicide.
Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Coimbra's debut feature definitely captures your attention. Coimbra has masterfully created a thriller using a rather simple but intense idea, a very smart move for a winning debut. The moments that were unnervingly peculiar were when one minute you would be laughing at the sarcastic quips from the frustrated inspector, to another minute where you are left horrified by what you’ve just watched. Proof of directing talent, and an absorbing viewing experience for audiences.
Wolf at the Door was screened as part of the Barbican Centre's "Rio + Film Festival 2015", which highlights the city’s major contribution to Brazilian cinema with a season of contemporary and classic film productions from Rio de Janeiro, highlighting the richness of the Brazilian film landscape.
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