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Review: Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! (2017)


Title: Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! (2017)

Genre: Drama

Stars: Cauã Reymond, Mario Verón, Leopoldo Pacheco, Adeli Benitez

Bias: I don’t fully understand the reason or historical context behind the beef between Brazilians and Paraguayans.

Grade: D

In a Nutshell: A Brazilian boy named Joca falls hard for a Paraguayan girl named Basano. Their forbidden one-sided romance plays out surrounded by a war-torn region of the Apa river, which straddles the borders of Paraguay and Brazil. All this accompanied by a side plot on Joca's older brother, Fernando, a badass motorcycle cowboy who just wants to leave this crummy town.

The Critique: Motorcycle gangs, Brazil, forbidden love, guns, swords, alligators. All this sounds like a recipe for a good Friday night, or at the very least, a decent story. But unfortunately, Felipe Braganças debut solo feature, Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! delivers neither one of these. Instead, he vomits out 2 hours of pretty visuals and a plot that's so convoluted it’s Wikipedia page doesn’t even provide a plot description. It’s mixture of actors and non-actors does the film no favors as it transitions from the choppy and awkward interactions between Joca and Basano to the violent and exciting life of his older brother Fernando. Every sequence that's meant to generate some emotional response from the audience falls flat or is embarrassingly, unintentionally comedic. It’s a true testament to the idea that a character's death means nothing if the audience does not care about the character.

The only area that this film excels in is it’s visuals. Glauco Firpo, the films cinematographer, uses light as his paintbrush. He carefully composed just about every shot to ensure I had something nice to write.

To Go, Rent, or Stream: None. Do none of these. Unless you’re stranded on an island with the ability to watch only this movie I’d say you’re better off doing anything else. It is available to rent online wherever you usually do that, however, if I haven’t convinced you not to watch it.

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