O Roubo da Taça, which literally translates as “Theft of the Cup”, could have been a who-done-it about the heist of Brazil’s Jules Rimet trophy in 1983. Instead, Writer-Director Caito Ortiz made the story into a how-dumb-it comedy. You are constantly asking yourself, how dumb can these two guys be?
Jules and Dolores (the English title) is an entertaining, classic, “dumb criminal movie” akin to the sub-genre of a Coen Brothers film or A Fish Called Wanda. The difference is that, this film is based on a true story.
The true parts show the Brazilian Football Confederation and the government to be as inept as the thieves. The original trophy is on display while its replica is stored in a safe. The thieves steal something too famous to fence, so they end up negotiating with an Argentine gold dealer, who plans to melt it down. The police are hot on the trail but fail to recover the trophy.
The rest of the truth is altered for the sake of the story, where perpetrators are merged into Peralta, a disaster of a man. A fictional female is added. Taís Araújo plays Dolores, a beautifully sexy Brazilian who is inexplicably loyal to her corpulent Peralta, despite his gambling, stupidity, and the crime. Her character gives hope to current theories that the trophy still exists.
One reason Ortiz made this film is because the true parts are not well known in Brazil. In 1983, Brazil was on the verge of ending its military dictatorship; mass protests were being held to advocate open elections rather than an unfair electoral college. Journalism was repressed, and few discussed the ignominy of losing the cup to a trophy thief. To reflect this dark period, the cinematography is equally dark and crude, to the extent that I originally thought this was an old film – except for an official who looked suspiciously like Dilma Rousseff, plus Dolores was too modern for an old film. It was interesting to learn that Netflix helped fund the development of this film and that Ortiz is doing additional work for them.
In researching the FIFA Jules Rimet trophy, I discovered that it had quite a tendency to get stolen, duplicated, hidden, or misplaced. There have also been a few other films about the trophy’s mysteries, which I have not seen.
The Jules Rimet Trophy was created for the first WC in 1930. It was made of silver and was gold-plated, not solid gold as portrayed in Ortiz’ film. The trophy was first stolen in 1966 in London, but recovered a week later by a dog named Pickles. In 1970, having won 3 WCs, Brazil was allowed to keep it, but after it was stolen, FIFA issued them a duplicate Jules Rimet. The current FIFA World Cup trophy was designed for WC 1974. In 2015, FIFA found the original 4-sided lapis lazuli base for the Jules Rimet, which had later been expanded to 8-sides. The original base is now on display in the FIFA museum, but apparently some people are still hunting for the lost Jules Rimet trophy.
No soccer or football is played in this film.
In Portuguese with English sub-titles
Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7