It’s quite rare, in this day and age, to watch a movie that gives so much importance to the landscape. Davi Pretto’s second feature film, Rifle, puts the gorgeous scenery of Southern Brazil at the forefront as Dione (Dione Avila de Oliveira), a young farmhand from the city – with his rifle in hand – takes on the aggressive interests of greedy land developers. Even though he himself isn’t the owner of said land, he takes on the fight to hit back against the encroaching urbanisation of rural Brazil.
The fact that Pretto chose to use non-professional actors adds to the documentary feel of his work. This blurring of the line between reality and fiction is enjoyable if one is a fan of slow-moving and less action-packed scenes. The title of the film might feel a bit misleading to those who expect more shoot ‘em up, bang bang Western shootouts. Viewers might wonder why the director chose to cast actors with little or no acting experience, as some of the dialogue feels like it needs more seasoned performers to fully carry its message. In one relaxed and natural scene, Dione is sitting with his co-worker underneath a truck. He needs to borrow money, although the fact that he can’t say how much is a little odd.
The sound design incorporating animals, rustling leaves blowing in the wind and other distant background noises is quite impressive. Tiago Bello and Marcos Lopes wonderfully enhance the images with their strong sound-editing skills. Davi Pretto, in addition to co-writing the film with Richard Tavares, composed the score, which nicely complements the visuals without being overbearing. Two of the stand-out images in this movie involve the use of car stunts: one is a night shot of a vehicle up in flames as it travels down a deserted, dark expanse of open road and the other is an impressive one-shot long take of a car that flips over after the sound of Dione’s piercing bullet. Credit is due to cinematographer Glauco Firpo for so delicately and effectively shooting Pretto’s ever-expansive vision of rural Southern Brazil.
Rifle does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Rifle here: