Viva Riva! (2011)
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Critic Reviews for Viva Riva!
A slick, exciting, well-made crime thriller, dripping with atmosphere.
Pulsing with polyglot music and outlaw vigor, "Viva Riva!" is a raucous reply to the new world order.
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.
"Viva Riva!" has its cake and eats it, too. Shoots it to pieces, actually.
Audience Reviews for Viva Riva!
A brutal and gripping Congolese neo-noir that doesn't invest as much in character development as it does in creating a raw atmosphere, and so the result is an exciting and realistic blaxploitation movie that turns a generic plot into an interesting return to the grindhouse days.
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?
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