Gardo (Eduardo Luis), Raphael (Rickson Tevez) and Rato (Gabriel Weinstein) are three young Brazilian kids who spend their lives hunting through the rubbish dumps of Rio to find money, or items they can sell. When Raphael discovers a wallet that contains a large sum of money and a key, the boys find themselves at the centre of a mystery, with the cops on their tail.
Based on Andy Mulligan’s novel of the same name, Trash combines the adventure from The Goonies, with real life thrillers to create a fun and heart warming film. The three young leads have wonderful chemistry together, and seem utterly unselfconscious, and go along for the adventure of the film. They are backed up by Martin Sheen playing a priest (again!) and Rooney Mara playing an aid worker who supports and defends the boys. Both the adults are warm and strong in the film, but allow the kids and their story to take centre stage.
The story, adapted for the screen by Richard Curtis, is part thriller, part child adventure game and part friendship tale. The kids have a strong sense of loyalty to one another, a powerful belief in what’s right, and an innate distrust of the cops. The adventure leads them across Rio, into prisons, favelas and private homes, all in the name of doing what’s right and solving the mystery. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience on the journey with the boys, but there are times when scenes and sequences feel unnecessarily drawn out. That said, combining genres and styles – think The Goonies meets City of God – works surprisingly well, and keeping the movie family friendly, but scary enough to provoke conversation was a clever move.
Director Stephen Daldry has not stepped behind the camera since 2012’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and thankfully, has manages to shake off the saccharine sweet feel of his previous film. Daldry allows the kids to take centre stage, and for the audience to warm to these underdogs, who take on the might of the police and established and powerful politicians, all for the sake of adventure, and doing what’s right. The film is well paced and gripping, however the ending is a little too sweet and a little too drawn out to fit with the tone and style of the film.
In all, Trash is a gripping and engaging adventure, anchored by strong performances from the young cast. The story is the right balance of fun and fearful, but is let down by an overly sweet and rather odd ending. Still, Trash is a family friendly adventure that will remind adults of their youths, and seeing The Goonies for the first time.