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Viva Riva! Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2012
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.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2011
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?
January 4, 2012
Braindead plot, but the novelty of a movie being set in the Congo makes it almost worthwhile. Almost.
November 12, 2012
Good action crime thriller from Congo (DRC)! The characters were great and mufti-dimensional. Im not sure what happened to Rivas brother though - the plot isnt too clear about that- but the movie is worth the watch and the plot is unpredictable.
Cameron B.
July 22, 2012
Great thriller, shows what world world is capable of.
June 16, 2012
There's a part of me that really wants to give this film a break and praise it. Because, honestly, as a first effort by Djo Munga with little support from his home country, this really is an admirable effort. Yet, I have to be honest, Viva Riva! is weirdly derivative. Incorporating all the elements of the typical gangster and noir in it's script, the story just seems rather uninteresting by the end of the movie. I have to admit, there might be a political message that I might be missing but after 3 different viewings I just could not get any more from the experience than my first time viewing it. If writer and director Munga wanted to do more than re-tread the gangster genre then he didn't executed it very well. Another interesting paradox Viva Riva! has is that it's shot and written in a very mundane and down-to-earth fashion. Yet, it occasionally deviates from that and incorporates some very romanticized and stylized plot devices. There is nothing wrong with a stylized representation of the gangster world that is meant to be more operatic than a realistic portrayal. But Munga seems to try to do both and the film just ends up feeling contrived. Essentially Viva Riva! is a more watered down and African version of Gomorrah but ends up saying much less than the Italian gangster film. Again, commendable effort but a derivative experience nonetheless.
October 21, 2011
A weird crime thriller that could only happen in a weird country like DR Congo. Quite entertaining overall, could be better if the ending part wasn't so poorly-edited.
January 7, 2012
Opzwepende Congolose (!) variant op Goodfellas
January 5, 2012
Dynamic, witty, fresh, loved it.
January 3, 2012
This is truly the first movie I've seen this year (I know I said "Life In a Day" was the first, but I lied); choice well made. To begin my first review of the year, I will explain the plot of this film. It is an African film from the Congo about a man named Riva, who is a small-time hustler that makes money by selling gasoline since it is scarce there. He is able to crank the prive of litres of gas up to make him enough money to live ($10 a litre). The problem is that his rival, Azor, plans to make money off of gasoline as well. Riva happens to teal gasoline from Azor before he is able to make a large deal. To add insult to injury, Riva manages to take away his wife Nora, which sends them into a spiral of danger. The plot is interesting enough to make you sit thorugh the film. It is very suspenseful at times, and very slow, but in a good way. Every ten minutes feels like a half-hour when you watch it.

The acting in the film is really good, especially the actor of Azor. The film is not only heavy on suspense and acting, but it is heavy on the style and original sequences that takes place. There may not be a lot of action, but there is still enough for you to wonder. Not to mention that the cinematography and editing is fantastic. The flaws that I do have with the film are only two things; the ending (which doesn't anger you, although it does leave you down) and that the film's style and scenes of the country will leave some people uncomfortable. But to me, it is amazing to see a culture in the way of a film, to the point that you're almost shocked by the look of the country and the people. So, if you are interested in African cinema, this is a must-see. If you don't like film heavy on the crime, then this might leave you with a sour taste in your mouth. And by the way it's subtitled, so don't cry to me if you can't read!
Michael H.
January 2, 2012
A good, traditional gangster film with the bonus of an unfamiliar setting to lend an exotic flavor.
September 2, 2011
KANSAS CITY URBAN FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION: "Viva Riva!" 4 out of 5 Popcorn Bags "The winner of six African Academy Awards 'Viva Riva' is an exceptional hard-boiled crime caper. Think 'Shaft' meets 'Pulp Fiction.' It's super grimy, extremely gully, ultra violent and sexually explicit. It's sub-titled but don't let that stop you from seeing this shockingly fun film. It's a bit rough around the edges but that sort of adds to the flava of this really good film that's loaded with swag and straight African cool.
June 30, 2011
This movie is one of the best things I've seen all year. Too bad no one will ever see it.
June 26, 2011
..shot entirely in the DRC so Im a lil biased.. & at times I didnt kno If I was watchin a soft porn or a gangster movie.. but I hugely recommend it.. so take a break from the Xmens/Transformers/ or GReen lanterns.. & go see something different this summer ;) ..currently playing at your local independent movie theater
June 13, 2011
Finding it extremely captivating and suspenseful, I highly enjoyed this film. Definitely a ruthless thriller that has no problem depicting reality, no matter how ugly it may be at times. The movie shows the harsh consequences people must pay for when they selfishly try to get to the top, attempting to attain more money and power no matter who they must step over. It shows the poison money can be, and the rash choices people make when left with no better option. Recommendable to anyone who likes gangster/action indie movies, that adds its own personal twist.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2011
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?
Page 1 of 3
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