Viva Riva!


Viva Riva! (2011)


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


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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 is looking to make some fast money off the petrol. Riva's main rival is Azor (Diplome Amekindra), a local crime kingpin with a fearsome reputation, but Riva gets on his bad side not only by attempting to sell the gasoline before Azor can strike a deal, but by trying to steal away Azor's wife, the very desirable Nora (Manie Malone). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Viva Riva!

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (16)

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

Aug 18, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

It feels so raw and urgent and real.

Aug 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Jul 21, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Jul 7, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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

Jun 23, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

You'll need some patience to wrangle with this conflicted beast, but it's never dull.

Jun 22, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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