A Wolf at the Door

This Brazilian crime drama (2013) harkens back to the French poetic realist cinema of the 1930s—Le Jour se Leve in particular—with its petit bourgeois milieu and air of foreboding. Writer-director Fernando Coimbra begins with the police investigation of a little girl’s kidnapping, then flashes back to earlier episodes in the lives of the girl’s father, a bus inspector; his wife, a bored homemaker; and his kittenish young mistress. Though a strong director of actors, Coimbra is significantly less assured as a visual stylist: his movie plays out in flaccid, hand-held long takes familiar from much international art cinema, and they tend to dilute the suspense without deepening one’s connection to the settings. In Portuguese with subtitles.