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Finnish director Mika Kaurismaki (who also co-wrote the screenplay) made his English-language feature debut with this tale of foreigners adrift in the treacherous labyrinth of the Brazilian jungle. Kari (Kari Vaananen) is driving down the Trans-Amazonica Highway -- actually a two-lane dirt road that leads out of Rio -- with his two small daughters, Nina (Minna Sovio) and Lea (Ailo Sovio). He is fleeing the Brazilian authorities and is already on the lam from his homeland for taking his wife off life support after a car accident left her in a coma. His car eventually runs out of gas, and the family is rescued by Dan (Robert Davi), a bitter American expatriate and bush pilot who involves Kari in a scheme to use an old bulldozer he has discovered for mining purposes. Dan's plan will wreak havoc with the already devastated rainforest, however, and Kari, under the influence of a native woman (Rae Dawn Chong), starts to doubt his involvement in the project. Good performances, an important message, and excellent photography are all wasted on a story that starts out well but becomes unbalanced when one of the main characters suddenly dies, practically eliminating any conflict or confrontation toward which the plot may have been building.


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