Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) Reviews

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rubystevens
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2008
well done documentary with interwoven stories illuminating crime and corruption in sao paulo, where someone is kidnapped every day; the rich travel with bodyguards in armored cars and heliocopters, while a huge underclass struggles for survival and certain politicians are no better than gangsters. the roots of this corruption are traced back to colonial days. this film is banned in brazil. i'm surprised more people haven't seen it. currently streamable on netflix.

'when the rich steal from the poor, the poor steal the rich'
Beefy
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2008
A wonderful, if ultimately somewhat aloof, look at the prolific number of kidnappings in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and the social conditions that allow for it. Plays almost like a black comedy. Worth watching, especially if you plan on traveling to that region.

Also, you must like frogs, but not love them. Otherwise, this is not the film for you.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]How are frog farms and ear replacement surgery connected in Brazil? I am glad you asked...[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]The enthralling documentary "Manda Bala" starts connecting the dots with Jadar Barbalho, a powerful and corrupt politician, who embezzled millions from SUDAM, a government program designed to help the most poverty stricken areas of Brazil. In the process he used frog farms for money laundering. The poor looking for any kind of work move to Sao Paulo where the wealth is concentrated. So, the very rich and the very poor are almost living side by side with each other. And some of the poor get desperate enough to kidnap the rich for ransom, occasionally cutting off their ears to further convince the relatives to pay up. Next, there are industries popping up like bulletproof cars, private helicopter services and ear reconstruction surgery.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]The documentary contains footage of the videos made by kidnappers and of the ear reconstruction surgery.(Just thought I'd mention this, in case you are squeamish.) There are also interviews with people including Barbalho himself, judges, prosecutors, former kidnapping victims, policemen and even a kidnapper who elicits more sympathy than the owner of a Porsche.(At least, he does not drive a SUV.) All of which is scored to some very catchy music.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]The underlying theme of the movie is that democracy is only as effective as its representatives. In Brazil, where corruption is rampant and a sitting Congressman cannot be tried by a public court, the results are disastrous. Remember that democracy is only a means to an end. [/font]
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2007
Saw it at Sundance and it blew me away. Jason Kohn showed me the light when it comes to documentaries. It's because of this movie that I've taken an interest in Errol Morris. I hope people get to see this...I know I want to again.
½ November 3, 2012
Could've been 4 stars were it not for the distracting use of the interpreters. Just use subtitles, please! Also, reviewer J.R. Jones said it best:
"To address the economic inequality of teeming Sao Paulo, Brazil, documentary maker Jason Kohn has joined several loosely related topics into a sort of rhetorical doughnut, leaving a hole in the center where his thesis should be."

Like, tell me more about the frogs. What?!
½ May 19, 2010
Every government in the world are corrupted. This isnt a secert, but now we know what can we do? Like the sayin in the movie the government rob with a pen and a gangsta rob with a gun.
½ March 26, 2010
Brazil: the land of impunity. This great documentary shows how corruption and organized crime can be a part of everyone living in the big cities of Brazil. I liked how the director made the conexion of Brazilians and frogs in the way how they live. Great stories, like the frog farm where is also a money laundry, the lady who was a victim of a kidnapp, the criminals, the corrupt politician Jader Barbalho, and others. A documentary which only shows the bad side of Brazil. I don't wonder why the government banned this documentary there.
½ September 17, 2009
Manda Bala provides a rancid view point of the multi-levels of crime in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and connects it to the lives of the city's people. The movie succeeds at being brutally honest about the reality of these problems that plagues Brazil's cities today.
½ July 29, 2009
An extremely creative, amazingly well woven documentary. At times hard to watch (I'm squeamish), and heartbreaking...but also funny and extremely insightful at other times. If you've been to Sao Paulo and met the people there it makes the experience retrospectively even more meaningful. What a paradoxical place, so much violence and danger, yet so many happy smiles. Worth watching no matter what.
July 25, 2009
For one the soundtrack of this movie is so fucking good it makes your head spin.

Beyond that it's a fascinating documentary about a hodgepodge of topics. There was enough material here to make a few documentaries, political corruption, frog farming, kidnapping, reconstructive ear surgery, armor plated cars, crime and a couple more.

Really it could have been a trilogy of documentaries but the director creamed off the top of all these topics and put it all into one, its almost like he was cheating - but for our enjoyment.
½ July 10, 2008
Good documentary but not great. Nothing was really learned by the end, that you didnt gather from the trailer. Interesting portrait though and fantastic cinematography.
May 4, 2008
Corruption is everywhere and in the third world countried such as Brasil. you see how far reaching in the culture it goes. No one is safe from it in the struggling country.
April 20, 2008
Manda Bala suffers because it delivers almost all of its interesting points within the first 20-30 minutes. After that it's a case of diminishing returns. The photography is stronger than other recent documentaries on more or less the same subject, so it does take strides to set itself apart from the pack, but it isn't as riveting as the marketing suggests.
April 17, 2008
Amazing documentary about rampant corruption and rising chaos in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Excellent cinematography and an awesome soundtrack make it a little *too* slick, perhaps, but still powerful.
½ November 3, 2012
Could've been 4 stars were it not for the distracting use of the interpreters. Just use subtitles, please! Also, reviewer J.R. Jones said it best:
"To address the economic inequality of teeming Sao Paulo, Brazil, documentary maker Jason Kohn has joined several loosely related topics into a sort of rhetorical doughnut, leaving a hole in the center where his thesis should be."

Like, tell me more about the frogs. What?!
April 30, 2012
Can't wait to get this DVD in the mail.
January 28, 2012
When the poor have no option they kidnap the rich. Investigating these kinds of kidnappings which are rampant in San Paolo, Brasil, Manda Bala traces these crimes to their root -- the cause of such contrasting poverty, corruption. Showing the effects of such traumatizing crime, interviewing plastic surgeons (need to reconstruct ears that are use to coerce families to pay ransoms), to politicians, to kidnapping squads, to even a kidnapper himself, Manda Bala is an in-depth, well made portrait of a problem in one of the biggest cities in the world today. Despite the film opening very confusingly (starting at a frog farm, then talking about political corruption, and then talking about kidnapping), things eventually connect together in the end, showing details of how crimes are not isolated, but connect to greater issues. This is a film you should see.
November 13, 2011
The best film i saw at The Sundance Film Festival. I loved it, a really great documentary.
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