Focus World, the digital arm of Focus Features, is finally releasing the long-delayed movie on October 9th in NY, LA, digital HD, and On Demand.
What went wrong? Well, basically, Daldry and co-director Christian Duurvoort shot a gritty, run-and-gun movie starring three unknown Brazilian boys in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro. That means sub-titles are involved. Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara play supporting roles as a missionary and his assistant who offer safe harbor for many favela dwellers and help the boys.
The entertaining, well-shot movie hinges on a boy, Rafael (Rickson Tevis) who finds a rich man’s wallet as he scrabbles through Rio’s gargantuan garbage dump. It turns out that it contains vital information that many powerful men–and corrupt cops–are eager to find. The movie hangs on the performance of the three boys as they follow the wallet’s clues, “Charade”-style, just ahead of their pursuers, racing across rooftops and through Rio’s colorful streets.
Unfortunately, the trio lack the charisma of say, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhané Wallis, or the kids in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” which may have encouraged Working Title to indulge Daldry on this. But the movie cracks along with verve and energy, and certainly deserved a proper theatrical release from Focus Features, which the old James Schamus management likely would have given it.
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So for the last year the film has kicked around international film festivals (debuting at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival in October 2014, winning the People’s Choice award at the Rome Film Fest and earning a BAFTA foreign nomination) without making much of a splash, and while it has earned decent reviews, it has already opened in territories around the world and may not gain much traction here.