Review – Trash

Poster for 2015 Brazilian drama Trash

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 30th January 2015
Runtime: 114 minutes
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: Richard Curtis
Starring: Rickson Teves, Eduardo Luis, Gabriel Weinstein, Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen, Wagner Moura
Synopsis: Three favela kids see their lives suddenly change when one of them discovers a wallet in a pile of rubbish, which holds the key to a huge conspiracy.



A foreign language drama about three children in the grubby favelas of Brazil doesn’t seem like obvious subject matter for the director of Billy Elliot. Stephen Daldry though, with Trash, manages to conjure up a film that, for the most part, recalls the globe-trotting euphoria of Slumdog Millionaire.

Performing his regular job digging through trash, Raphael (Rickson Teves) discovers a mysterious wallet and shares the secret with his best friend Gardo (Eduardo Luis). They enlist the help of outcast Rato (Gabriel Weinstein) in order to investigate how the object got there. With the aid of English teacher Olivia (Rooney Mara) and priest Father Juilliard (Martin Sheen), they discover that the wallet might be the root of something far bigger.

Trash is an interesting film in that it’s a remarkable showcase of cultural diversity. The director is British, the cast is predominantly Brazilian and there are a couple of American actors who pop up occasionally to inject a little bit of star power. As a result, it feels like a universal project which can appeal to just about anyone with its simple, feel-good conceit.

| "Wherever there is corruption and injustice, there is dollars."

There is one notable aspect that makes Trash work – the infectious energy of its three central performers. All three are excellent discoveries and fill the screen with buckets of charisma, especially when they’re given the opportunity to just crack wise and spend time together as a unit. As soon as the running and jumping machinations of the plot crank up, the film becomes a lot less interesting.

This is, in fact, a huge problem with the film across the board. It’s far more entertaining when it’s simply spending time with its characters as they traverse the vivid environs of their homeland. In fact, the underlying narrative of political dealings and police corruption is almost completely uninteresting and renders the last half an hour of Trash a bit of a slog.

Daldry runs out of steam entirely as Trash moves towards its conclusion. Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen stutter their way through a series of dull platitudes as the young cast spend a lot of time wandering around abandoned houses trying to work out clues like they’re in The Da Vinci Code. Even the previously energetic camera seems to lose interest as the film sags enormously en route to its admittedly uplifting final moments.

| "Let’s start a revolution."

Trash is a potentially excellent film let down by a desire to reach just a little too far. It feels as if there was too much stock put in making something “epic” and “expansive”, when the intimate character dynamic at the heart of the film is so much more appealing than a political revolution or any amount of running and jumping off buildings.


Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Despite its infectious energy and terrific central cast, Trash is let down by an over-reaching writer in Richard Curtis and a director who runs out of ideas by the time the story begins to wrap up.

There is an oasis though in the form of three excellent young performers who deserve to have brilliant careers on the big screen.


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