Mal review

This muddled mosaic of interlocking stories shares its structure with Short Cuts and its ambition with the Three Colours trilogy.

However, while director Alberto Seixas Santos fills his film with fascinating characters (an HIV-positive Irishwoman and her serial adulterer husband; a young junkie and his religious zealot of a mother; an old man desperately looking for his runaway granddaughter), he fails to bring them together in a satisfying or coherent way.

Santos shows how Mal (evil) impacts on our lives, from the corruption in government down to the casual cruelties meted out by a pair of tearaways on the subway. But without a sense of unity or consequence to these maddening, saddening occurrences, they lose their capacity to shock or outrage.

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