A young gangster rises to the top of the underworld while his famous outlaw dad stews in jail in the energetic but ultimately wearisome crime caper “Light in Darkness: The Return of the Red Light Bandit.” A sequel of sorts to Rogerio Sganzerla’s “The Red Light Bandit” (1968), a locally successful pic little known beyond Brazil, “Light in Darkness” offers pop existentialism for the musicvideo generation, with plenty of bright, spicy colors and bang-bang antics, but its nasty attitude toward women won’t endear it to offshore auds. Co-directed effort by Icaro C. Martins and thesp-turned-producer/helmer Helena Ignez could shine a light at home.
Mix of flashbacks (actual footage from Sganzerla’s film) and new material explains how Luz Vermelha (Ney Matogrosso) became a legend in 1960s Sao Paulo. Action then cuts among scenes of him sitting in jail, reading philosophy and enjoying privileged treatment. Meanwhile, his son, All or Nothing (Andre Guerreiro Lopes), rises up through the city’s crime syndicate through a series of daring robberies. Frenetic editing frustrates comprehension at times, while one-dimensional characters reduce the will to work out what’s going on. English subtitles at screening caught were atrocious.