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, realistic blaxploitation movie that turns a generic plot into an interesting return to the grindhouse days.
exciting well made crime thriller from the rep of congo as a hustler has a way of making cash in the gas starved country
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.
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