Cobra Verde | Chicago Reader

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Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog reunited for one last trip to the edge of civilization in this plodding but frequently eye-popping period drama (1988) adapted from Bruce Chatwin's novel The Viceroy of Ouidah. Kinski is the title character, a fiery Brazilian bandit in the late 19th century who's tapped by a sugar-plantation owner to sail to West Africa and reopen the slave trade; soon after he arrives, he's training a vast army of bare-breasted amazons to rebel against their ruthless king. Verde is too blankly amoral to sustain interest, but the film has isolated moments of haunting poetry, like the closing sequence in which he struggles to drag his boat into the sea as a bent and lame African boy creeps down the beach toward him, moving on all fours like some giant crab. In German with subtitles. 111 min.

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