In God’s Hands
The press are a devious and oftentimes dangerous animal if left unchecked. From fake news and unethical practices through to agenda-driven writing and outright lies, press outlets the world over have been a constant resource used advantageously by politicians and powerful groups. Given the corruption rife in Brazil and some of the recent outbursts from Jair Bolsonaro, Killer Ratings dives headfirst into a historical dark cloud hanging over the country’s past.
Across 7 episodes, Killer Ratings explores the life of TV host Wallace Souza, a man responsible for reducing gang crime in the area thanks to his topical and no-holds-barred approach to crime. At least, that’s how it appears on the surface. Blurring the ethical line between what should and shouldn’t be shown on TV, accusations soon begin trickling in that the string of bodies shown were infact orchestrated by Souza himself, covered up in devious and backhanded ways in exchange for high ratings on his TV show, Canal Livre. This ultimately serves as the beginning of the end for Souza as he slowly becomes a person of interest by the police.
For anyone who’s watched some of the other Central and South American crime documentaries on Netflix, Killer Ratings follows many of the same conventional tropes you’d expect from those too. There’s a mixture of face to face interviews, archival footage (which is sometimes pretty graphic and shocking if I’m honest) and a chronological timeline from his rise and subsequent devastating fall, with all the bizarre and crazy twists along the way shown here.
Killer Ratings is well-paced for the most part too, with the first episode depicting the background and history of the show, told through the eyes of cameramen and producers, before diving into the alleged darker side of Souza’s business practices. Throughout the episodes there’s a constant trickle of interviews and new archival footage that arises, helping to give the show some much needed variety in its visual design. If you’ve found yourself drawn into other crime documentary series like this, Killer Ratings is another good one to digest, and well worth the time to check out if you’re unfamiliar with the story.