2 Rabbits is the kind of film that’s spawned from an obsession with fragmented criminal thrillers akin to Pulp Fiction, The Boondock Saints, Snatch, so on, and so forth. But these movies are either masterfully crafted or luckily hyped, and while Afonso Poyart commands style, his storytelling can’t quite pull off the chaotic abandon of such unwieldy voices. As you can tell from the image above, expect the unexpected from Poyart’s mind, yet the barrage of visual obscurity becomes overbearing as his screenplay refuses to stop shifting. No one is who they seem, and no character is insignificant – but with so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep them all working fluidly.
While a host of characters make an appearance, the linchpin to it all is a slacker named Edgar (Fernando Alves Pinto). His plan, in its simplest form, is to bring justice back to Brazil, while snatching a large sum of money. There’s a gangster named Maicon (Marat Descartes), a dirty prosecutor named Julia (Alessandra Negrini), and a crooked politician named Jader (Roberto Marchese), all of whom are pawns in Edgar’s frantic game. The whole idea is to kill two rabbits with one blow (two birds with one stone, for us Americans), using a proximity detonator placed in two separate objects. Once they get close enough – BANG! There go Edgar’s two targeted rabbits, and life goes on. But plans can’t be that easy, can they?
As one can expect by the mention of Tarantino’s work, 2 Rabbits spins wildly out of control from its very first moments. We meet Edgar as a lazy individual whose only interests are porn and video games, yet leave him as an enlightened man. He keeps saying he has a plan, and of course it’s much more involved than just cracking a few bad eggs. Edgar’s scheme is built on “Really?” moments that only raise questions, barreling forward towards an ending that’s supposed to be about taking ownership and making things right (showcased to extreme). It’s easy to enjoy the scenery along the way, but Poyart moves too fast, and refuses to let any plot device be what it seems. Surprises are one thing, but certainty also goes a long way at times – something that’s never given to us.
Yet even with such a reckless tale, Poyart’s inserted miscues are entertaining in manageable doses. Julia, for instance, travels to a virtual world in her mind whenever a panic attack comes on, which looks something like a cartoonish Sucker Punch realm with blobby little inhabitants (see the photo above). As panic sets in, the Weebles advance, and she slices up as many as she can, but when she pops anti-anxiety medication in reality, her virtual world is rocked by a massive, freeing explosion. Is it at all necessary? No, but it’s intriguing and creative, taking a mundane action and giving it life. You can’t fault Poyart for being boring, that’s for damn sure.
Performances range from engrossing to supplemental, but with so much going on, it’s hard for actors to really make an impact. Jader’s wife, for example, has very little backstory told besides her dislike of being ignored, which is rolled into a plot point where she helps set Jader up for a gruesome end. Velinha (Thaíde), a criminal Edgar uses as an accomplice, has the same kind of relationship with the camera, where we enjoy his short-lived presence, yet he’s given almost no time. Even Edgar, our charismatic narrator, struggles to find his leading persona, despite moving 2 Rabbits forward through each excitable explanation. Poyart’s ideas involve so many different reveals that characters have to continually be introduced, with each one stealing more and more screen time from those players who deserver far bigger roles.
In the end, 2 Rabbits ends up being an ambitious international effort that might play to certain cult circles, but Poyart’s vessel sinks under the weight of such a fully-loaded screenplay. A movie like Pulp Fiction succeeds because the plot is rather simple, it’s just told in a mix-and-match order. 2 Rabbits, on the other hand, never stops to savor the moment, and continues to push forward with as many reveals, twists, and turns Poyart can dream up – even in the most unnecessary moments. It’s worth a shot, but expect a rollercoaster ride and just hope you can stomach the turbulence for all 90-plus minutes.
2 Rabbits is the kind of movie that keeps rocketing forward as you hold on for dear life, never stopping to let you catch up. I, myself, got lost towards the end, but maybe you'll have a better grip?