Turistas is one of my favorite tourist punishment movies. Every type of western tourist is represented:
a) The jerk who doesn’t even know what language they speak in the country he’s visiting.
b) The tourist who takes pictures of children and people without asking permission and has the best of intentions for their exploitation.
c) The sex-obsessed tourists who just want to have sex with the locals, or anyone who is willing.
d) The free-spirit who’s down for whatever and doesn’t need clothes.
e) And the one who has studied the language, knows things about the culture, and is traveling alone. (This one would be me.)
Six tourists traveling in Brazil are brought together when a local bus crashes and they are left waiting on the side of the road. Instead of waiting for the bus with everyone else (like my anxious butt would), they decide to go down to a beachside bar and throw their plans to the wind. They are drugged, robbed, and then have to fight for their lives and organs.
Is this an objectively good movie? Well it certainly is set in a beautiful place, and surprisingly this was the first American movie completely shot in Brazil.
Do the tourists make all the wrong choices? Yes, and it makes for such an enjoyable movie.
When talking about travel to countries with a history of being exploited, it’s important to remember that no matter your place in time you have benefitted and have probably played a part in that exploitation. This movie attempts to have that conversation.
I can’t truly recommend this movie to those who want to watch a good movie. But if you want a pure good time of watching tourists getting tortured, this is for you.
Things I Learned:
- Learn the local language.
- Lung capacity is important.
- Never chase children in poverty who stole from you.
- If you keep treating other countries as your playground, and they’ll start returning the favor.