Watching Trash is a bit like being served a Sunday roast with seasoned wedges instead of roast potatoes. It’s not exactly what you expect to see, but it’s pretty pleasant and a refreshing change nonetheless.
It’s inevitable that many will see the vibrant posters for Trash and immediately cast their minds back to the likes of Slumdog Millionaire or City of God – two movies that portrayed the harsh realities of the slums in India and Brazil respectively, while simultaneously conveying the vivacious culture of the countries. Trash is both of these movies yet neither at the same time, operating on an adult level that reaches a wide audience thanks to its precocious and street-wise protagonist kids.
The movie throws itself deep into the Brazilian favelas to follow three kids – Gardo, Raphael, and Rato – who spend much of their time wading through piles of rubbish for money and anything else they can put to good use. When they retrieve a highly sought-after wallet from among the rubble, they soon find themselves at the centre of a scandal that goes way beyond the rubbish piles and up to people in nauseatingly high places.
Originally a novel by Andy Mulligan, Trash is given a big-screen adaptation thanks to a joint effort from Richard Curtis – the undisputed king of the schmaltzy screenplay – and director Stephen Daldry, who’s previously delivered fierce emotional blows with Billy Elliot and The Hours. City of God’s creator Fernando Meirelles is also owed credit, with his production company O2 Filmes getting this film off the ground. The combination of each of these filmmakers’ typical approaches and the third-world setting suggests that Trash is all set up to be a tough, emotional, intense watch. While undeniably mature and gritty, there’s a sense of playfulness and light-heartedness in Trash that few are likely to be disappointed by.
One of the ways in which the movie retains a sense of mischievousness is through extended chase sequences. Despite the dirty connotations of its title and poverty-stricken setting, the movie simply refuses to dwell on the crumbling favelas for the entirety of its duration, instead allowing them to flash by as the kids scamper away from their pursuers and try to make a difference in a country otherwise encompassed by corruption.
Built on remarkable performances from the three youthful leads, Trash probably won’t be quite what you expected. But sometimes it’s necessary to have a little surprise once in a while.
Trash is released nationwide on 30th January 2015.
Watch the trailer for Trash here: