Boca is a period gangster film, a look at the life of Sao Paulo’s godfather Hiroito during his heyday of the 1950s and 1960s, that’s just hit Blu-ray and DVD. The movie is based on the real-life Hiroito’s biography. Daniel de Oliveira plays the title role and we watch his rise from a young boy obsessed with prostitutes in the city’s red light district to a major player on its streets, dealing drugs, running hookers and building up quite a fearsome reputation in his own right. His is a life of violence, as he is accused of murdering his father, and he quickly becomes alienated from his family, as he is drawn to the demi-monde of the city. Director Flavio Frederico recreates the world of 1950s and 1960s Sao Paulo with some skill and panache and the setting definitely has a very different feel to it, marking it out from American films dealing with a similar subject. Also, the South American cast exude a kind of cool on screen that a US cast would be hard-pressed to match here. De Oliveira is suitably charismatic as the main protagonist, making a credible kingpin. He is also able to carry off the scenes where he has to come across as a ruthless psychopath. Hermila Guedes, who plays his prostitute wife Alaide, performs well on screen and acquits herself admirably. My own quibble, and this is a minor one, is that the 90 minute running time is far too short, as it’s such a rich subject that it seems that it could have supported more. Brazil is already a major player in foreign language movies with films like City of God and Central Station: Boca is a stylish and exciting gangster biopic, a worthy addition to the country’s modern cinematic heritageā€¦

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