Murilo Benicio has again demonstrated an amazing range of acting ability in this most outstanding film. He plays a young man named Miqual Jorge who has no apparent direction in life, no visible means of support, and who lives in a lower class neighborhood in Rio De Janeiro. However, with one unusual change in his appearance, having dyed his hair blonde, he achieved a change in his personality, one which created a destiny he never imagined for himself ... which sealed his fate. This one event helped him act on a dare and find a new bravado that became his persona. He engaged in behavior which under most circumstances is criminal but which for him won a new life, respect and fame. It also complicated his future in ways he never imagined ... Although the subject of the film is somewhat shocking, the viewer becomes sympathetic to Miqual as one understands how his rather simple life turns into a nightmare from which he can not escape. He becomes powerless to change direction once forces are set into motion. He becomes a victim of the circumstances he created just by one or two decisions.
After his hair color changed, he got into a physical relationship with the attractive hairdresser, Cledir. He took her to his Uncle's corner bar, where a neighborhood thief and bully mocked his dyed hair and made innuendoes about being gay and looking like a gringo. On a spur of the moment decision, Miqual Jorge challenged the young man to settle the score that night. Miqual obtained a gun, waited a long time for his opponent and dared him to fight. His opponent kept walking with his girlfriend and even mocked, what are you going to do, shoot me ... which Miqual did. Word got out, that Miqual eliminated the scumbag who stole from hard working shopkeepers and from innocent pedestrians. When Miqual went to the local dentist, Dr. Caravallo, the dentist suggested Miqual do a contract killing of another low life, one who had raped his daughter. Several wealthy businessmen helped create a business, complete with an office and telephone answering machine, where Miqual's skills were for hire. All this met with the implicit approval of the local police whose hands were often tied by laws which protected the rights of criminals.
Cledir became pregnant as Miqual found a new direction for his life. Initially, he was reluctant to marry but then after meeting her mother, he committed to settling down, having a normal job and raising a family, even going to church. Miqual had inherited the responsiblity to provide a home, food, and clothing to Erica, the 15 year old girlfriend of the man he had killed. She lived in his former bachelor's apartment, after Cledir and he had married. Unfortunately, Miqual succombed to temptation and had an affair with her. She was young and demanding, wanted him to get rid of his wife. Sadly, an unexpected accident caused Cledir to die - they had to cover up her death, to make it look like a disappearance. This worked fine until her body was discovered buried in the backyard of one of Miqual's assistant's who worked with him in his contract murder job. Erica and he lived an upper middle class lifestyle until this event unraveled their cosy existence. She confessed to knowing about neighborhood murders to an Evangelical minister, her guilty conscience was washed free as she found solace in religion, but at the same time, this information threatened to destroy Miqual and his newly created lifestyle. Miqual was forced to act - again digging himself deeper into the quagmire from which there is no return ... This film is a fascinating study of how a few decisions can lock a directionless young man into a life of crime from which there is no escape. Murilo Benicio never ceases to amaze with his wide-range of acting ability. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)