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Marcelo leaves his family and moves to Mato Grosso do Sul, where he learns how to fly airplanes by himself watching the pilots. One day, he responds the call of a drug dealer and uses his boss' plane to help the man to transport his cargo. He is hired by the drug lord to work transporting drugs in his airplanes. When he is arrested by the Federal Police, he does not rat his gang and the leader of the cartel gives a large amount of money as a bonus and asks him to leave the gang since he is known by the police. Marcelo uses the money to promote a party in the Carnival of Recife pretending to be the son of the owner of the Gol (a Brazilian air flight company). He lures the high-society, including the television presenter Amaury Jr. Marcelo is arrested again and is sent to prison. During a rebellion, he uses his leadership to present the claims of the prisoners and help to control the situation.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I had a really nice surprise watching this movie. Having watched, not long ago, many Brazilian movies where acting looked like caricatures at best, or perhaps like an extended cut of the ever so popular soap operas, I must confess I didn't usually hold expectations too high when going into a Brazilian movie. VIPS was one of the movies that changed that for me.
It seems that finally we're coming of age in terms of acting, solid story lines, emotional development of characters and how all of this is put together into a coherent and entertaining story.
Based on the true story of Marcelo Nascimento da Rocha, acted brilliantly by Wagner Moura, we get to know some of the cons of one of the biggest con men of the century. "Catch me if you can" comes to mind a lot when watching this movie, and the lives of Frank Abagnale Jr and Marcelo do have striking resemblances.
We don't get to see all of it in the movie, but Marcelo started out his cons early on as a teenager, impersonating police officers and eventually coming to pass as a very well known Tigre (equivalent to the BOPE, or SWAT in his home state of Paraná) agent, carrying out police duties, such as making arrests and taking part in secret investigations. He also passed as a soccer scout for the Brazilian soccer team, as a member of the criminal organization PCC in São Paulo, as one of the owners of the Gol Brazilian Airlines, as both an agent for famous musicians and as famous musicians himself, tricked the army into thinking he was a jujitsu national champion in order to get benefits during military duty, and many other impressive feats.
When I left the movie I thought there might have been some exaggerations to the story, but in fact not only all the cons presented there were true to the actual story (which is reported in the book as well as in the Documentary by Mariana Caltabiano), they are even more impressive. For instance, both the Amaury Jr interview and the incident with the DEA in Bolivia, not only happened as wee see in the movie, but also have many other twists in real life, such as when he was called to witness on the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) on narcotraffic in 2000.
The movie also has a very interesting take on his motivations for this, which even though might border a more fictitious approach, are very convincing and add a good deal of depth to the storytelling. Therefore, the story works on many different levels, not only as depicting some of the impressive events in this con man's life, but also building an independent interpretation for his motivations.
I'm rating this 9 out of 10 only because I thought the run time was a little shorter than I had expected. The movie ended but leaving a certain taste for more. Nicely though the book and the Documentary complement the movie very well, and I managed to get an even greater experience later on reading the book and watching the documentary than I would have had if the movie was just a direct line by line adaptation of the other versions. Recommend it greatly. If you enjoyed "Catch me if you can", you're definitely going to enjoy this (and even if you didn't, I'd suggest giving it a try).
11 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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