An initial impression many people have of this film is that it is truly bizarre. Drained (O Cheiro de Ralo in Portuguese) is surreal and stunning—both in its camera work and story line. It is hard to empathize with the protagonist. He has very few redeeming features: his is a world driven by egotism and power over the weak. It’s apparent that he is dehumanized money-making machine going from day to day wondering what went wrong after experiencing a string of unlucky mishaps. However since he is a person of such unsavoury character, it is easy to laugh at his many recent mini-calamities.
Drained is a story that many corporate types may recognize—a life lived unexamined. LourenÃ§o must, for the first time, introspect as to why he is overcome with malaise. In an attempt to find a solution, he decides to break up with his fiancee and starts lecherously flirting with the local juice bar girl. He soon discovers that the overpowering smell of the drain in his bathroom is the cause of his troubles and obsesses about it, fixating on what he can do to fix the drain and his life.
The film is dark and satirical and it is possible that director Heitor Dhalia is making some statements about Brazil’s economic situation as well as poking fun at the country’s middle-class inanities. Talking to others who had seen the film more than once, it became clear that Drained might be one of those films whose subtleties are better appreciated after multiple viewings.