Embodiment of Evil Review
In a continent, and specifically the country of Brazil, where the powerful have used church and state to retain their position, and where passivity and acceptance have often been forced upon the powerless through a mixture of imported Catholicism and indigenous beliefs, comes a man empowered beyond politics or scripture. Whilst street children are murdered by security forces and priests demand fatalistic acceptance, Coffin Joe laughs at the beaten down and fights those who seem to be beyond the reach of any foe.
Embodiment of Evil is no shameless cash in on the cult status that Marins now enjoys. The movie reminds the familiar viewer about the director's strengths whilst giving new thrill seekers the flesh and blood they crave. The poetic speeches, the church baiting, and the commitment to the spirit of the superman he created are all present, and the beautiful sense of the gothic, along with the contrasting revulsion of the man's deeds, are just as in evidence as in earlier installments. Despite age, good sense and the slew of modern competition, Coffin Joe's latest appearance retains the dream-like and lyrical approach that made him so captivating when he first came to the screen.
Transfer and SoundThe idea of Coffin Joe on blu-ray seems anathema when you consider the previous shoddy treatments on DVD of the director's work. Yet despite a wandering aspect ratio, looking at the stills above it flits between 1.78:1 and 1.85:1, this is a very good treatment. The level of detail is exquisite, the colours vivid and strong, and the contrast is well judged. Only in some of the green screen moments does some haloing occur, and edges are left pretty much as they must have been shot. Relax, you don't miss a pixel of offal or scandalising flesh!
Discs and Special FeaturesThis release is region free with about 80% of the single layer disc used, and the main transfer using 16.9GB. There are two extras, both in standard definition with LPCM sound, and these are a 30 minute making of featurette and a short trailer. The making of documentary plays up the angle that this film is the official third part of the Coffin Joe trilogy, despite the existence of films like Awakening of the Beast, and the young crew eulogise about Marins pretty non stop. Time is given over to explaining his penchant for "guerilla" shooting and his willingness to improvise. Marins never speaks to the camera during this piece with his son substituting and footage of the man directing the cast being the best we get in this respect. We do learn that Jece Valadão died during filming and that one flashback scene to the earlier movies was re-shot so that Marins could reverse the military censorship imposed on him when he originally filmed it.
SummaryIt's hard not to rejoice that a Marins film is available on a decent blu-ray, and further celebration is necessary that this new installment in the world of Coffin Joe is so good. For those who enjoy this film, they may want to double dip for the coming Coffin Joe box-set featuring nine films about or from the man, including the first two part of this trilogy.
8 out of 10
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