Films-U-Missed: ‘The Man of the Year’ or ‘O Homem do Ano’ from 2003
O Homem do Ano, aka The Man of the Year, is a Brazilian film from a director hailed as “the Quentin Tarantino of Brazil,” Jose Henrique Fonseca. The film is set in Brazil, and stars Murilo Benicio as Maiquel, a man who loses a bet and must dye his hair, of all things…blonde. The film plays on the way this event changes his life. For those that hear “Brazil and gangster film” and think City of God, you’ll be off-base, but this is still a solid pic.
First off, he meets a lovely young hair stylist named Cledir, who helps Maiquel perform the deed. Her looks naturally captivate him and her kind words over his changed look, inspire confidence. Maiquel and Cledir go on a date, their first stop to show that he has paid his debts in a public watering hole. There he receives the expected ribbing and ends up in a confrontation with a local thug. The Maiquel of old, seemingly, would let this pass. The blonde-coiffed one however, seeks out said thug at the appointed time and murders him in front of the thug’s girlfriend, Erica. Word of the murder quickly spreads and Maiquel gains instant fame.
What spawns is a rags to riches tale of sorts, in the vain of Scarface-light. Fonseca’s direction is more focused on story with violence mixed in and Maiquel’s rise is less “to riches” but still from “anonymous to somebody.” Various story elements stand out, including Erica’s “you killed my boyfriend, now you must take care of me” storyline, which changes the destiny of Maiquel’s life. They form a poor-man’s Bonnie ‘N Clyde of sorts, which is all interesting and fun. Throw in a fun-loving pig who meets a tragic end, and leads to the pig’s killer’s subsequent comeuppance, and you have a nice little tale that keeps the viewers attention. Thank you, Amazon Prime Watch Instantly.
The Man of the Year is not really Tarantino-like, save for some scenes of violence, but it lacks the humor that QT peppers on, but perhaps that is lost a touch in translation. The movie is based on a novel, the film is stylish, the performances are solid and the tale, believable. O Homem do Ano makes for a quality film experience, which may not make your all-time favorite list, but still leaves a good impression. One that Bill, the pig, unfortunately does as well. For gangster aficionados – appointment viewing. Check it out.