Antonio Das Mortes captures a piece of Brazilian culture and folklore. Director Glauber Rocha does not present this film in an entirely straightforward way. It is chaotic, not entirely sequential, at times symbolic and even surrealistic; but throughout it all, it remains artistic. He weaves culture, in especially music, into the story. The amount of singing and dancing interwoven into the tale is considerably more than his other movies and has so much music that narrates the film it is practically a musical.
Antonio meets all of one's expectations of being a tough gunfighter. He has killed countless outlaws and is excited at the prospect at putting down another cangaceiro (rural bandits or pirate lords of the desert). When a wealthy landowner puts out the call for help, he gladly goes to see for himself if there is an outlaw troubling the town. The town has more troubles than just the outlaw - the infidelity of the landowner's wife begets futher dificulties and curruption.
Although Antonio sees himself as upholding the law and order of the government, the poor people in the hills who side with the cangaceiro see him as the evil dragon who Saint George would slay. Antiono comes to regret his actions as the law of one side is the oppressor of another. Subtuly, Rocha makes such political commentary in a way that is not too obvious.
Because Antonio Das Mortes has an atypical presentation, appreciating it takes an eye for sophistication. In other words, this is not one for the masses. Glauber Rocha may have been ahead of his time as his films are still so uniquely different.