Bacurau review: Brilliant Brazilian Western is in the same class as Parasite

This playfully futuristic Brazilian Western involves a bunch of villagers being preyed on by gun-toting tourists. It’s agonisingly suspenseful. It’s laugh out loud funny, too.

Though the script tackles gross economic injustice, government corruption and Brazil’s colonial past, directors Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles never waver in their mission to entertain. Sonia Braga, as the village doctor, listens with great sympathy as an oppressed woman lists her woes (“migraine, nausea, feeling like death”). Braga’s verdict? “That’s a hangover.”

The film is set in a cash-starved cranny of north-east Brazil. Braga and her friends are already struggling and barely clock the drones (disguised as space ships) in their midst.

Then, one day, they notice that, according to Google maps, the village no longer exists. What’s about to happen won’t show up on official radars. When Udo Kier strides into town (he’s Michael, the man in charge of the foreigners) we feel the threat in our gut.

Film geeks will swoon over the technical details (the cinematography harks back to the glory years of John Carpenter). Basically, this is a feast for the eyes, designed to mess with our heads. You may be tempted to whoop as the bloodletting begins, but all the lives, marginal or not, matter.

Bacurau is in the same class as Parasite. In the words of Bong Joon Ho, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Prepare to be amazed.