City of God

By Brett Mullins

Released: 2002

Original Title: Cidade de Deus

Directed by Frenando Meirelles and Kátia Lund; Screenplay by Bráulio Mantovani.

City of God depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro from its humble youth of the 1960s to the widespread warring in the ‘80s.

Cidade de Deus is a slum hosting Brazil’s most impoverished citizens. The lack of employment and need for funds to survive force many of the youth into a life of crime. In the beginning, several teenagers grouped together committing petty theft against the rich and the government, which generally benefited the poor citizens. As the youth grew into adults, so did the gravity of their crimes as they ventured into the drug trade. Though it’s expected from living such a turbulent life, the characters appear not to live so long. As the leaders succumb to their inevitable fate, the neighborhood spirals out of control ending with armed children gallivanting throughout the streets.

As with other crime dramas, such as The Godfather and Gomorrah, this film has quite a complex set of character interactions and developments. The characters’ tales interweave to create a complex poverty stricken masterpiece.

The audience meets the film’s protagonist, Rocket, as a shy child who strays away from the violent youth in his neighborhood. As he ages, he’s consistently down on his luck, catching few lucky breaks. Rocket is easy to relate with because, though he appears afraid of the criminal world, he is forced to associate with it at various times, as most of us are, while in pursuit of a career as a photographer.

City of God surpasses many other films through its realism. The film makes the audience fall in love with characters, even the antagonists, then kills them off in a dramatic fashion. It also does well at humanizing criminals, which appears not to be a trait of today’s cinema.

This film earns director Frenando Meirelles his stripes as a ground breaking director, especially since his cast was composed of those who are from Cidade de Deus.

City of God
will exceed expectations and challenge the top films of the crime drama genre.

Rating: 8/10

4 comments:

  1. "Though it’s expected from living such a turbulent life, the characters appear not to live so long."

    "Rocket is easy to relate to because, though he appears afraid of the criminal world, he is forced to associate with it at various times, as most of us are, while in pursuit of a career as a photographer. "

    Your writing seems very forced and unnatural; the quoted sentences are prime examples. People typically don't advise others to write in their natural speaking voice, but I think you should be an exception. My only worry is that you sound retarded in person.

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  2. One of my favorite movies, the characters seem so real they drag you in the story, making you feel like part of it but in such an umconfortable way that you feel their pain.

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  3. I've only seen parts of this movie. I'll need to watch it all.

    @Anonymous: wut.

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  4. Cidade De Deus is NOT a suburb in Rio - it's the local's name for Rio De Janeiro.
    As in, Rio is the City of God.
    SMH

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