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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Bacurau': An Exhilarating Neo Western-Thriller About a Rural Brazilian Village Under Siege

Movie poster for the Brazilian film Bacurau (2019)

Bacurau (2019) is an exhilarating and deeply resonant neo western-thriller from Brazil about a near-future village in the state of Pernambuco besieged by nefarious forces. Following the death of the settlement's elderly matriarch Carmelita, Bacurau's residents begin to disappear one-by-one, with mobile service disrupted and the village literally disappearing from online maps of the region.

Returning for Carmelita's funeral after a prolonged absence, her granddaughter Teresa (Bárbara Colen) delivers much-needed medicine to the residents before reuniting with former lover Pacote (Thomás Aquino). After a UFO-like object appears in the sky and a pair of American motorcyclists suddenly emerge on the scene, Carmelita, Pacote and their comrades come to recognize an impending campaign of eradication by professional soldiers. Seemingly orchestrated by corrupt neighboring mayor Tony Junior (Thardelly Lima), the killers are lead by steely-eyed Michael (Udo Kier), whose crew of mercenaries soon find themselves face-to-face with the residents of Bacurau in a brutal war of desperation and survival.

Written and directed by Brazilian filmmakers Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius, Neighboring Sounds) and Juliano Dornelles, Bacurau is a fiery amalgamation of genres, combining elements of social realism with a classic western motif alongside searing action set pieces. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Sergio Leone, Richard Connell (The Most Dangerous Game) and John Carpenter, Mendonça Filho and Dornelles have crafted a rousing allegory characterizing the myriad sociopolitical issues rife within modern Brazilian society.


Watch the trailer:


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