Viva Riva! (2011)



Critic Consensus: Vibrant and violent, Viva Riva is a stylish, fast-paced crime drama.

Movie Info

A small time hustler thinks he's got a big score ahead of him if he can stay out of the way of some underworld rivals in this stylish action drama from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Riva (Patsha Bay Mukana) is a guy who is smart, ambitious and willing to bend the rules, but he hasn't made much of a windfall from his talents until he discovers a secret stockpile of gasoline in Kinshasa. Fuel is hard to find, and Riva knows he can move the gas for a premium price, but he's not the only one who … More

Rating: R (for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, brutal violence, language and some drug use)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Djo Munga
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 27, 2011
Box Office: $61.8k
Music Box Films - Official Site


as Commandante

as Commandante

as Mere Edo
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Critic Reviews for Viva Riva!

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (18)

A slick, exciting, well-made crime thriller, dripping with atmosphere.

Full Review… | August 18, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It feels so raw and urgent and real.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Pulsing with polyglot music and outlaw vigor, "Viva Riva!" is a raucous reply to the new world order.

Full Review… | July 21, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Patsha Bay plays the macho title character, but the film belongs to sultry Manie Malone as the dancehall diva he aims to steal from the top mob boss. She makes even the act of applying lipstick spark with erotic electricity.

Full Review… | July 8, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

"Viva Riva!" has its cake and eats it, too. Shoots it to pieces, actually.

Full Review… | July 7, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Pulpy flourishes lend it the crude spirit of a Warner Brothers gangster picture from the 1930s, albeit one with an unexpectedly carnal edge.

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

Audience Reviews for Viva Riva!


This is a brutal and gripping Congolese neo-noir that does not invest as much in character development as it does in creating a raw atmosphere. An exciting, realistic blaxploitation movie that turns a generic plot into an interesting return to the grindhouse days.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


Riva(Patsha Bay) is back in Kinshasa after ten years, having made a fabulous deal with the help of his business partner G.O.(Romain Ndomba) With plenty of money to throw around, Riva hires his old friend J.M.(Alex Herabo), who now has a wife and family, as a driver and together they haunt the local nightspots. At one, Riva encounters Nora(Manie Malone), a sexy redhead, who he becomes obsessed with. Only one problem. She belongs to Azor(Diplome Amekindra), a gangster. But that danger cannot compare to Cesar(Hoji Fortuna) who is in town from Angola looking for his stolen gasoline, pressuring Madam Commander(Marlene Longange) to help him.

While I always appreciate the documentary approach to illustrating a country's ills, there is also something to be said for doing it with sex and violence in the entertaining, if a little unpolished, "Viva Riva!" Kinshasa is depicted as a corrupt mess(a character uses a worse word) where even the Church is not immune, replete with rolling blackouts and gasoline shortages.(On the plus side, the movie is lesbian friendly.) Dollars are king which makes it possible for a mover and shaker like Riva to rise above it all. While I like the guy and admire his considerable balls, I have to admit he is also very irresponsible, not realizing the consequences of his actions. And who said blaxploitation was dead?

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

exciting well made crime thriller from the rep of congo as a hustler has a way of making cash in the gas starved country

Viva Riva! Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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