Friday, September 28, 2012


NINJAS (2010)
D. Dennison Ramalho


I have wanted to see this short film by Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho for a long time. When he finally posted it to his blog I got the chance. It lives up to the long term desire to see it, as it is one of the most brutal and unsettling pieces of cinema I have seen in a while.

The movie begins with a preacher giving his sermon in typical over the top fashion. The entire congregation disperses leaving one very religious man. He witnesses as the Jesus stature comes to life and steps down off the cross. Fully nude and his stomach rotten and falling open. This man named Jailton is about to have his faith tested. 

Jailton is a cop, but not a particularly good one. During a chase of a drug pusher he gets confused and shoots a kid instead. His partner helps him plant a gun so it looks like he did nothing wrong. But Jailton is a moral man is is haunted by this killing. Seeing the ghost of the kid in his water tank, in his house etc. 

Finally his supervision shows up and informs Jailton they had switched the body and no one can trace anything back. He explains this is what cops do. Take care of each other. They ask him out on a night run that will help "clear his name" but when the cops all put on masks and claim they are "Ninjas" he know s something bad is about to go down. Several corpses and a lot of spilled blood he will be proven right. 

This scant movie (only 25 min, actually 21 minus credits) packs a lot of mean-spirited power into the short running time. There is some violence in the last few minutes that will leave you agape and slack jawed at how miserable it is. 

Ultimately the movie is about corruption. Corruption of the church, of the police force etc. It is like it is saying if those institutions are like Ninjas how do we stand a chance as regular people. 

Review © Andrew Copp

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