** UPDATE 18/09/08: Listen to our interview with Walter Salles **
Here is a summary of the critical reaction from Cannes:
Todd McCarthy of Variety thinks it is engrossing, but not gripping:
Engrossing if not gripping effort possesses the quality and seriousness to make limited inroads on the international art circuit.
Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter admires the film, especially the acting:
‘Linha de passe’ (a soccer term) has a great deal of strength and sincerity going for it, which should attract the kind of audiences who admired the sociological line of “Central Station.”
Hats off to the fine ensemble acting, which is never over-stated and renders each family member intensely individual.
Jonathan Romney of Screen Daily welcomes it as an alternative to recent Brazilian cinema:
Reunited with his co-director on 1996’s Foreign Land, Salles offers a well-knit multi-strander that vividly evokes the rigours of keeping body and soul together in Brazil’s biggest city, while offering a down-to-earth alternative to the more romantic and stylistically flashy films (City of God, Lower City, Berlin winner Elite Squad) with which Brazilian cinema has been identified lately.
Anthony Kaufman of indieWire has mixed feelings:
…an accomplished, though unremarkable competition film that never rises above its familiar tale of a poverty-stricken family.
Ty Burr of the Boston Globe admires the filmmaking but is taken aback by the bleakness of it:
An expertly filmed slice of Sao Paulo kitchen-sink realism, it tells of a family of poverty-stricken brothers who between them represent the many aspects of Brazil’s soul: soccer, sin, Jesus Christ, etc.
Also bleak, bleak, bleak. Salles can really make movies, and he just lovingly ground my face in this one.
Xan Brooks of The Guardian thinksit is a fine film (but had issues with the out-of-sync subtitles):
…the film marks a return to the soulful, socially conscious style he patented in Central Station, focusing on a trio of brothers hunting a route out of poverty, whether that be through football or gangsterism.
It’s a fine movie but the English subtitles keep slipping out of synch, so that they relate to action that’s already been and gone.
Eric Lavelee of IonCinema thinks it is a noteworthy drama:
A return to sources for Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, this is a noteworthy drama without superficial story structures or overly complex characters.