The Three Marias

Fun Brazilian revenge caper

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OPENS JANUARY 30, CERT 15, 74 MINS

The title characters are three sisters who’ve vowed to their grieving mother to avenge the murders of their father and brothers by a local gangster. So each Maria separately sets out into the desert to contract assassins.

Family revenge was the theme of another recent Brazilian movie, Behind The Sun, but whereas that film was slightly po-faced, The Three Marias mixes moments of riotous black comedy with overwrought melodrama. Featuring a trio of kickass, deadpan heroines who could be cousins to Kill Bill’s The Bride, this is a torrid blend of Leone, Peckinpah and Federico Garcia Lorca. The results are uneven and lacking in emotion. But taken as a stylish, live-action cartoon, the movie is perfectly entertaining, with some memorably macho characters (one hitman survives only on snake meat and tequila, convinced this diet banishes all sense of fear) and ripe dialogue. The mother tells her daughters they mustn’t weep until the men who killed her husband are dead?”Never feed pain without giving sustenance to hatred.” Quite.

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