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Friday, January 1, 2016

"The Brazilian Affair" Shot Beautifully & Well Choreographed, But Does It Live Up To Its Potential?

"THE BRAZILIAN AFFAIR" (2015)
Genre: Action
Length- 23:35
Company:  Casualty Films

Carter (Lon Sierra), an ex-bodyguard for the governor (Michael Madden), returns for a new job: get to the bottom of a ransom note for a kidnapped Brazilian mistress.  As is so often the case though, things aren't quite so simple as just dropping off a sack of money -- Carter and the governor's wife (Jennifer Scibetta) kinda sorta got close the last time they were together, for one thing, and for another, the governor's a Presidential hopeful, so whatever happens needs to be done with as little mess and as quietly as possibly.

Yeah . . . about that . . .

THE VIRTUE OF GORGEOUSNESS

Many short films have difficulty establishing a cohesive setting, or even a believable one, but "The Brazilian Affair", directed by Alex Robles and aided by Director of Photography Terry Adams, features an exceptionally shot series of beautiful locations.  The scenic vistas we see from the shots on display here make it easy to believe, for instance, that the governor is wealthy, and that the world in which we are inhabiting for the twenty plus minutes of running time of the film is authentic.

While the production values were upped a great deal by amazing locations and nice video quality, the film took a few hits from echo laden sound, pedestrian direction and uneven editing.  There were also a few pacing issues, most blatantly during the golf scene, which could have been cut completely.

BOOM, SMASH, POW

As an action film, "The Brazilian Affair" still has its moments beyond just being nice to look at.  The fight choreography is done well, and the blood and gun visual effects work.  Sierra carries himself like a badass and he has the voice for it.  He makes an entertaining action hero, and I enjoyed watching him take out bad guys left and right.

The script, by Joseph Luna, is where the film falls short.  It's an action film, and you don't often watch action films for the writing, but even so, the final reveal in this movie felt overwrought and generic, and gratuitous in a certain way.  It's also an awfully talky script and most of the actors are not up to the task of carrying the story, with the exception of Sierra and Scibetta.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 1 / 5.  The writing was generic and downright silly in places, particularly the finale.  I also didn't buy Carter's final decision, considering the apparent honor he demonstrated in other areas of his life.
Directing: 2 / 5.  Most of the shots are pretty static, with a couple POV voyeur-style shots here and there to add tension.  A strong presence behind the camera is a must for an action film -- think James Wan, John Woo -- these are directors who successfully convey the ENERGY of an onscreen moment through camera movement.
Editing: 2.5 / 5.  The pacing was all over the place, but most of the film cuts together reasonably well.   What didn't work for me was when Carter goes to deliver the money, and the editing style completely changes.  It's supposed to lend the scene some immediacy, but it comes off as more jarring than anything.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  I liked the soundtrack, which was full of a variety of rock bands (including Moby -- used under license) and Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech songs.  The sound design, as I mentioned above, was pretty poor as a whole.
Acting: 2.5 / 5.  Sierra is our rock for this film, and he has the acting chops to carry us from start to finish.  Scibetta is the closest to his level, and their scenes together are the easiest to watch.  The rest of the actors range from OK to bad.

Final Grade: 2.2 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "The Brazilian Affair" and follow the creators on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!