Films trying to follow multiple story lines don’t always work. Sometimes they come together too conveniently utilizing too much luck or coincidence for believability and sometimes they don’t come together at all. When they do come together well it can make for a cool ending and when they fail it can be simply grating. The Brazilian action film Two Rabbits manages to avoid most of the pitfalls even if it isn’t entirely successful.
Edgar is a young 20-something who’s just moved back to Sao Paulo after spending a couple of years in Miami hiding out after some bad stuff went down. While there he perfected his complicated revenge plot which he plans to enact once back in Brazil, hoping to gain some absolution for his sins in the process. The players in this game include Maicon, the local gangster, Bola, his number one, Julia, an assistant in the DA’s office and Henrique, her husband, to whom she feeds confidential information to help him in his work as a criminal lawyer. They both work for Maicon. Also involved are Edgar’s father and Walter, a man Edgar has apparently wronged but who works for his father and may have forgiven Edgar during his time away. Rounding out the main players is Jader Kerteis a local corrupt politician who manipulation is essential to Edgar’s plan. There are plenty of other bit players, but these main characters will move around like chess pieces enacting Edgar’s brutal endgame with or without their knowledge.
Highly stylized with graphic overlays, full on animated segments, and aggressive color correction and editing, Two Rabbits is like Michael Bay’s wet dream only the speak Portugese. Sometimes when foreign directors try to imitate American styles it can come off as cheap and cheesy, like they don’t really understand the style aping. Thankfully Afonso Poyart understands it quite well and crafts the type of film that work just fine in America if only the characters spoke English.
Unfortunately, such a complicated series of plot threads requires an ending that ties them up nicely. The ending of 2 Rabbits doesn’t exactly fall apart but it doesn’t get wrapped up with a bow on it either. It mostly makes sense and gives finality to the stories but it doesn’t give you everything you wanted. While that can sometimes be a good thing, here it’s just a little unsatisfying and leaves you wishing for a bit more.
In the end Two Rabbits is an incredibly confident and assured feature film debut for writer/director Afonso Poyart. It’s complicated but not needlessly so, and it’s relatively easy to follow the action and character motivations. It’s highly stylized from the cinematography, to the editing and color correction creating a fast-paced graphics heavy film that feels right at home in the current video game obsessed generation. While the end isn’t quite as satisfying as you might hope, it doesn’t take too much away from this highly enjoyable thrill ride.
The Upside: High tempo and high stylization work and make for a fun, action-packed film.
The Downside: As cool as the ride is, it doesn’t quite come together in the end.
On the Side: Poyart is in pre-production on a film called Solace starring Anthony Hopkins.