Starring: Selton Mello, Camila Pitanga, Rodrigo Santoro
Director: Luiz Bolognesi, Jean Cullen De Moura, Marcelo Fernandes De Moura
Running Time: 74 mins
Rio 2096: A Story Of Love And Fury (Uma história de amor e furia) is a Brazilian film about the story of an immortal man and his love for a woman over the course of five centuries of upheaval in Brazil.
This is a very different film. While some of its settings and secondary premises may remind some of Blade Runner or Pocahontas, the way it goes about telling its story is very different, and makes for an often rather cathartic watch. As impressive as that often is, however, Rio 2096 is a film that can drag, and unfortunately loses its fresh and unique feel over the course of its rather episodic story.
Let’s start with the positives, the biggest of which undoubtedly comes from the film’s impressive atmosphere. Although a very short animation, Rio 2096 manages to have the feel of an epic, and the directors do a fantastic job of maintaining that sense of both emotional and historical importance throughout.
After all, the film follows an unforgettable and enduring love over a long period of great upheaval – a premise that matches exactly that of legendary epics like Gone With The Wind and War And Peace, and the directors do very well to effectively emulate exactly that atmosphere throughout, which in turn adds an apparent extra level of emotional and dramatic depth.
Another thing that I really liked about this film was how it links in with real-life history. Set in four separate eras, the European colonisation of Brazil, the period of slavery, the dictatorship in the mid 20th century, and a future Rio de Janeiro in the year 2096. As a result, the film is a surprisingly historically fascinating one, something you don’t often see from animations, with even the film’s future setting offering some riveting insights into Brazil’s past, and how that will inevitably affect its future.
In the end, all of that fits together with what is the very cathartic core message of the whole movie: not forgetting the past, a message with depth and consistent emphasis throughout the movie, and one that definitely had me fascinated.
Despite all that, however, there are still quite a few problems with this film that mean it doesn’t quite stand up as a great. Firstly, its plot, while historically intriguing, feels a little too episodic and repetitive to be deeply enthralling. While each change of setting offers more to learn, the way that the central emotional plot, the romance between our two leads, unfolds, feels pretty much the same each time, with film’s third act out of four particularly struggling in this regard.
What’s more is that the central love story just isn’t that interesting. I felt far more engrossed by the historical settings of the film as well as its central message, but the love that lasts half a millennium just didn’t interest me in the same way. That’s in part due to the fact that the main love interest just isn’t that exceptional, being quickly introduced in the first act as a perfect specimen, but offering little else particularly special to make you empathise with our main man’s endless desire for her.
Also, the romance is simply a little generic. While the rest of the movie is very unique, the same can’t be said for the main love story, something that really frustrated me throughout, as I kept seeing the same typical romantic clichés that really took away from the fiercely imaginative and passionate nature of the whole movie.
Overall, while I was very impressed by the bold and unique atmosphere of Rio 2096, as well as its historically fascinating story and deep central message, it really falls down due to a somewhat repetitive and episode story structure, as well as a less-than-exceptional romance story, which is why I’m giving it a 7.3.