Friday, July 8, 2011

Jason watches VIVA RIVA!

I wish I had seen this earlier, so I could've told all my Bay Area peeps during its too-short run. This is a super-cool African gangster flick. It takes place in the Congo, during a big fuel shortage. Riva, a small-time gangster is living large because he has a whole truck of fuel. He's also got people looking for him--the Nairobians (I think...I hope I remembered that right) he stole the gas from, the local female army commander they've enlisted (blackmailed) into their cause, and the local gangster whose girl he keeps hitting on. Seems Riva has a weakness for the ladies, but the way he plays it could be called a strength. There's some bloody violence and torture, and there's some pretty steamy sex scenes. The movie comes close to succumbing to a fatal flaw of having no sympathetic characters, after all Riva is a thief and a womanizer. But he also has enough charisma and embraces the joy of life (no matter the danger) that I couldn't help but root for him, no matter how fatally flawed I knew he was.

But the coolest part of it is using the genre trappings of a gangster flick to bring the audience to a unique spot in the world. A world that you usually see in depressing, desperate documentaries, if you see it at all. Here's to a little pure, sleazy entertainment instead of dirty, filthy guilt!

Running Time: 98 minutes
My Total Minutes: 241,888

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