A Shot in the Dark | Chicago Reader

A Shot in the Dark

Less the thriller it's billed as than an essay with psychological and sociological depth, Leonel Vieira's 2005 feature begins with a casual restroom encounter that leads to a baby's kidnapping. The forlorn mother later works in an exploitative strip club, quitting when it becomes intolerable only to fall in with a group of socially marginal characters who turn criminal. The taut bank robbery scenes are well executed, while the narrative reveals ever widening social networks with unexpected connections that confound simple distinctions between good and evil. Joaquim de Almeida's portrayal of the cop pursuing the gang is superbly understated and emotionally nuanced. In Portuguese with subtitles. 108 min.

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