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Viva Riva! (2011)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 47 | Rotten: 8

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


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 4

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 879

My Rating

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


Art House & International, Drama

Djo Munga

Sep 27, 2011


Music Box Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (8) | DVD (3)

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

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It feels so raw and urgent and real.

August 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 21, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop 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.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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"Viva Riva!" has its cake and eats it, too. Shoots it to pieces, actually.

July 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The titular exclamation point promises exuberant fun that the movie delivers only in spots.

June 23, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Meet Riva (the spectacular Patsha Bay), a man who thrives on scarcity: he smuggles gas, and has recently come upon a mother lode-which becomes, of course, a powder keg.

November 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

The alien environment makes Viva Riva! a fascinating watch.

January 5, 2012 Full Review Source:

The film looks and feels like another Pulp Fiction clone at times, but what emerges is a far more thoughtful work that makes important (and surprisingly) salient points about the humanistic struggles of developing countries.

October 17, 2011 Full Review Source:

Both exotic and engaging, with an earthy edge. But it also has a sophisticated side

October 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Worth checking out just based on the rarity of a movie with an empathetic black protagonist even being made about the Congo. The un-Tarzan!

September 24, 2011 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

What Munga has to say in this feature directorial debut is delivered via a quick-paced, gritty crime story that is both entertaining and enlightening.

August 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

A wild and seductive crime thriller, Viva Riva! is a promising early step for Congolese pulp cinema.

August 5, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Antoine Roch's digital photography is one of the film's strong points-it takes you right into the action from the opening scene...

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

There's a ton of stuff going on in "Viva Riva!" but it's always willing to pause for a steamy sex scene.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Riva's a gritty get-down that'll hit you in the gut.

July 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Writer-director Djo Munga brings Kinshasa to rumbustious life, and should he devote the same attention to character and dialogue he may be a talent to reckon with.

July 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent

Congolese gangster film goes in too many directions at once

June 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The only thing this talented young filmmaker can be accused of is being too ambitious with a multi-threaded story that starts at a fever pitch and keeps it up for 98 minutes.

June 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

...despite the bloody fates awaiting most of his cast, Munga's film has an oddly upbeat vibe.

June 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

New cinema from the new Congo. Suspend disbelief a bit for this one.

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

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.
May 5, 2012

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?
June 12, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Nora: Money is like poison. At the very end it always kills you.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Nora: If you carry on like this, they will cut you up into little pieces.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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