Viva Riva! (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Viva Riva! (2011)



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

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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 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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Marlene Longage
as Commandante
Marlene Longange
as Commandante
Nzita Tumba
as Mere Edo
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Critic Reviews for Viva Riva!

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (17)

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

Full Review… | August 18, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It feels so raw and urgent and real.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 21, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 8, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 7, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 23, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
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, realistic blaxploitation movie that turns a generic plot into an interesting return to the grindhouse days.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

exciting well made crime thriller from the rep of congo as a hustler has a way of making cash in the gas starved country

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

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.

J.J. Wang
J.J. Wang

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