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City of God

A movie directed by Fernando Meirelles

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A Visual and Emotional Mugging

  • Mar 30, 2004
Rating:
+5
This film attacks with images which resemble predatory birds flying at us at supersonic speed, trying to claw out our eyes with their talons. Paradoxically, the film also numbs us to the relentless carnage it so graphically portrays. Directed by Fernando Meirelles with invaluable assistance from Katia Lund and set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro (a squalid and violent area known as "City of God"), the film's narrator is Buscape ("Rocket"), an amateur photographer. Listing other actors and the names of the characters they portray will be meaningless to most (all?) of those who read this brief commentary. Cut to the chase. This is one of the most visually exciting films I have ever seen. The quality of the acting is outstanding. Most of the members of the cast were recruited from the City of God and are quite effective. Apparently anyone who hopes to survive in that squalid combat zone must be a consummate actor. The pace of this film is FAST but there are so many tender, endearing moments also. The climax is probably predictable but, meanwhile, it suggests that the cycle of aspiration, posturing, physical and verbal violence, and ultimate death or despair will continue indefinitely. This film celebrates the best while revealing the worst of what it means to be a human being.

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More City of God (2002 Movie) reviews
Quick Tip by . January 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
phenomenal movie!! moving and beautiful to look at.
review by . September 24, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Life is hard and difficult. Unfortunately, for many people in the world life is also unbearably brutal. Living in the United States we often forget that, even if we grew up in impoverished small towns or in the slums of the inner city. CITY OF GOD is a film that examines the brutality of humanity in a housing project that is part of Rio de Janeiro.    CITY OF GOD is the name of a housing project built in Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s. From watching the movie, it seemed to me that …
review by . March 19, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Everything.     Cons: Nothing. (some may want to beware of extreme violence)     The Bottom Line: See it.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Yeah, I can’t even come up with a title to do this movie justice. I just absolutely loved it. This is movie #6 of my film class, coming from the favelas (poverty-stricken areas, basically) of Brazil. I don’t even have any goofy quips to start …
review by . January 17, 2006
City of god is a film that you have to see to know how good you have it. These kid's are faced with everything from murder to drugs and it doesn't stop there. Not only do they have to live in an environment filled with crime some of them take part in it before they even hit age 10 and what's crazy is that this is based on a true story. This is a very rugged film as you see children that must do this to survive and the rise and fall of one child that did this for the rush and to satisfy a hunger …
review by . November 25, 2005
I had rented this out from the library and after I've finished viewing it you are left wondering about the irony of the title. It is not long in the movie where you realize that the City of God is a place totally forgotten by everybody. Still, that is the name that the government of Brazil gave to the housing developments outside Rio, constructed in the early `60s to hold thousands of people. Those slums, known as "the favelas", eventually led to the isolation of poor people from the city center, …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #75
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Like cinematic dynamite,City of God lights a fuse under its squalid Brazilian ghetto, and we're a captive audience to its violent explosion. The titularfavelais home to a seething army of impoverished children who grow, over the film's ambitious 20-year timeframe, into cutthroat killers, drug lords, and feral survivors. In the vortex of this maelstrom is L'il Z (Leandro Firmino da Hora--like most of the cast, a nonprofessional actor), self-appointed king of the dealers, determined to eliminate all competition at the expense of his corrupted soul. With enough visual vitality and provocative substance to spark heated debate (and box-office gold) in Brazil, codirectors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund tackle their subject head on, creating a portrait of youthful anarchy so appalling--and so authentically immediate--that City of God prompted reforms in socioeconomic policy. It's a bracing feat of stylistic audacity, borrowing from a dozen other films to form its own unique identity. You'll flinch, but you can't look away. -- Jeff Shannon
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Details

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Genre: Drama, Foreign
Release Date: January 17, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2004
Runtime: 2hrs 11min
Studio: Miramax Films
First to Review
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