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New Release Review - Futuro Beach

After failing to save a man from drowning, a lifeguard begins an affair with the victim's friend.


Review by Schyler Martin

Directed by: Karim Aïnouz

Starring: Wagner Moura, Clemens Schick, Jesuíta Barbosa


After Donato (Wagner Moura), a lifeguard at the incredibly dangerous Praia do Futuro beach in Brazil, fails to save a man from drowning, he finds himself thrust into a search for who he really is and what he truly cares about.
The film revolves around the relationships between Donato and Konrad (Clemens Schick), an ex-military man from Germany, who was friends with the man whom Donato was unable to save.
Donato's relationship with Konrad is, like everything else in the film, beautiful and deeply emotional. Though the two begin their affair with a passionate night of lust and desperation, their relationship evolves into something transcendent. Donato and Konrad find themselves through their connection with each other. It's natural in a way that movies must feel for viewers to make an emotional connection, but more in depth than the bond that most people, that most lovers, will ever share.
Moura is spectacular as Donato, as he skillfully accentuates the man's fears and doubts, as well as his passions and loves. Schick is good as Konrad, but he, understandably, has a little less to work with, so he doesn't shine as brightly as Moura in his performance.
The story is solid enough, but a little lacking in events, so it drags at times. Still, Futuro Beach isn't a movie that you watch for its plot. It's the the visual wonder, the stunning cinematography that makes Futuro Beach special. Because the film spans a variety of geographically different locations, there's an opportunity for gorgeous shots of every kind of place. The film feels most at home by the ocean, and early shots of Donato and Konrad deciding to go to Berlin together are some of the strongest I've seen in film in a long time.
Futuro Beach's greatest flaw is that it's much longer than it needs to be. After nearly two hours of watching two men struggle with subtle introspective problems, the journey feels taxing. Maybe it's supposed to feel that way, but maybe it wouldn't have hurt to cut out around 30 minutes of long landscape shots.
Even with its flaws, Futuro Beach is a strong film. It's a lovely exploration of loss, longing, passion, and the search for what matters in life, and it's worth the watch.




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