Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas return to Brazil to make Linha de Passe, a mediocre, if distinctly Brazilian, ensemble drama about a single mother in Sao Paolo trying to raise four sons, each of whom is embarking on at least a metaphorical quest for a father figure. Making good use of its urban backdrop (most of the film’s visual highlights are found on Sao Paolo’s highways), this movie becomes an essay in the ways that religion, soccer and crime fail to fill the void left in these boys’ lives. Moody and dour, to no particular end, except perhaps to drive home the insatiable restlessness of the characters, Linha de Passe is hamstrung by its contrived plotting and thematic inelegance. Most of the film is obvious to the point where everything feels preordained. Occasionally, it manages a looser, improvisational feel, but most of the script’s calculations are too readily apparent. The adequacy of the performances, the sound design, and the cinematography are overwhelmed by the unmistakable inadequacy of the script and editing.
Rating: 36 /100