Bacurau A.K.A Nighthawk is a Brazilian horror
adventure movie released in 2019, directed
by Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça
External and evil forces threaten a little
community in northeastern Brazil.
I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews,
with Movies and series from all over the world
and all eras.
Today’s review is of the 2019 movie Bacurau.
After studying and working in other parts
of the country, Teresa (played by Bárbara
Colen) is returning to her birthplace, Bacurau,
to attend the funeral of her grandmother,
Carmelita (played by Lia de Itamaracá).
Carmelita was a respected figure in the community,
making the funeral packed with people.
Domingas (played by Sonia Braga), however,
got drunk and went there just to shout and
offend the dead one.
Pacote (played by Thomas Aquino) was a criminal,
apparently a hitman, but is now trying to
In this new way of life, he prefers to be
called by his actual given name, Acacio.
He and Teresa have a thing.
Besides the violent water dispute that Bacural
is going through, after Carmelita’s death,
things are getting even worse.
The community is no longer on Google Maps,
a drone with a flying-saucer appearance is
lurking the region, and a string of horses
One day, the water truck that brings water
to the community is full of bullet holes.
Almost at the same time, a couple from the
southeast region of the country (played by
Karine Teles and Antonio Saboia) arrives there.
The two put some device in the bar that jams
the phone signal of everyone in the city.
Simultaneously, two locals find the bodies
of an entire family on that nearby farm.
While rushing to warn people in Bacurau about
something dangerous going on, they are met
by the southeastern couple and murdered by
The couple then goes to a place where they
meet a bunch of gringos led by Michael (played
by Udo Kier).
They’re typical gun-loving gringos and plan
in hunting the locals as a sport.
Pacote, who was already suspicious of all
the strange occurrences, find all those bodies
and decides the people must do something to
He turns to Lunga (played by Silvero Pereira),
who’s in hiding accused of being an outlaw
for trying to get water to Bacurau.
Pacote, Lunga, his gang, and Bacurau’s population
must try to defend the community or become
a prey of the gringos’ sick game.
As you might have noticed in the calendar,
it’s now October, the month of Halloween.
So this whole month, I’ll bring more-or-less
Let’s begin with a Horror Adventure from Brazil.
Bacurau is, more than anything else, a western.
The human hunting thing, the gore, and violence
are the most in-your-face aspects of horror.
However, adventure and action are more predominant
in the movie.
The community of Bacurau is part of the city
of Serra Verde, both fictional, are located
in the real state of Pernambuco.
West Pernambuco, to be exact, probably a reference
to the Western genre.
Another nod to the Spaghetti Western genre
is the noticeable presence of coffins, a possible
reference to Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars,
that was based on Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo.
Talking about Kurosawa, I definitely see some
parallel with Seven Samurai.
Instead of experienced Samurai helping the
villagers defend themselves from bandits,
we have a local gang supporting the community
By the way, the plot’s premise is not really
We’ve seen this human-hunting being done several
times in different fashions, this time, it
has a northeastern-Brazil twist to it.
However, the homages are really compelling,
especially the ones to Spaghetti Western.
Another problem with the movie’s story is
that it leaves too many things vague or unanswered.
I felt like they created a little universe
inside the reality, but half-assed it.
Imagine Mad Max: Fury Road but without building
that world clearly, leaving most of it to
the audience’s interpretation or confusion.
The movie is full of symbolism about Brazil’s
history and present, but let’s keep it relatively
simple in the explanations, and maybe in the
future, I can work in a more in-depth analysis.
The division the movie presents between the
Brazilians are the Northeastern and the Southeastern.
The Northeast region has a history of resistance,
while the Southeast is more submissive to
external interests and the status quo.
The movie symbolizes it with Bacurau’s community
on one side and the couple on the other.
The nameless couple considers themselves better
than the northerners, and they are absolute
ball-lickers of the foreigners.
We can’t generalize, of course, but that’s
the same posture of these people, saluting
and marching in front of a replica of the
Statue of Liberty in the state of São Paulo.
Brazil’s President is part of those who despise
his own nation and its people but love the
Bolsonaro, who already called his own country
“garbage”, said “I love you” to US President
Donald Trump at last year’s General Assembly
of the United Nations.
Talking about the Brazilian president, he’s
a fan of the Military Dictatorship that ruled
the country from 64 to 85, has close ties
with the paramilitary militias of Rio the
Janeiro, and is a worshiper of guns and violence.
This cult of violence is also symbolically
criticized in the film.
I don’t like violence in the real world but,
in films, it’s usually fine.
In Bacurau, that’s one of the best things
about the movie.
Not the violence per se, but the action.
Like the original Spaghetti Westerns, Bacurau
is a very entertaining movie, even if you
don’t know about the allegories.
Another pleasing thing is the community itself.
Since Tereza’s arrival, we see their sense
of cooperation, shown by the people handling
It’s like Bacurau is a character by itself.
It’s also very interesting the community relation
with psychotropic herbs.
As for general roles, I liked Pacote and Lunga,
but unfortunately, none of the other individual
characters captivated me.
The villains are all bland and generic, the
English dialogue is really bad, so when the
gringos are talking to each other, it seems
like a different film.
Udo Kier’s performance is great, though.
He made his character exceed the genericness.
Another gringa I enjoyed was Alli Willow,
who was really natural.
The others didn’t stand out.
I didn’t like Julia Marie Peterson’s performance
too much, it sounded a little amateurish to
Silvero Pereira is awesome, making Lunga really
look a deranged killer.
Thomas Aquino is very satisfactory as well.
And I would also highlight Sonia Braga, Karine
Teles, and Wilson Rabelo (as Plinio) in the
acting, even though their roles have less
screen time and likability.
The remaining cast is positive enough, but
nothing specific that I feel should be added
to this review.
The cinematography is a high point of the
I love the camera work, with its zooms and
pans making a reference to the Spaghetti Western.
The colors are marvelous as well, emphasizing
the environment in which the story unfolds.
The special effects are really decent.
The opening shot shows a space view of the
earth, zooming to where the movie set, and
I found it flawless.
Then, there’s all the gore, also really on
I love fake decapitated heads, and I hope
to have one of myself in the future.
Bacurau is a compelling film, better understood
by those who know a little about the context,
but enjoyable enough for those who don’t.
Its flaws prevent the movie reaching higher
So, I’ll give Bacurau 8 Moons.
That’s it for now.
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