Tuesday, September 4, 2007

City of God (2003)

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City of God is one of the rare movies that is both entertaining and disturbing. If this film was a baseball player it would be a five-tool player, which means it has something for everyone. An urban drama about drugs and poverty, City of God chronicles a teenager's struggle to survive the slums of Rio de Janiero. The cast is almost entirely composed of amateur actors, and is narrated by Alexandre Rodrigues as Rocket, the main character. Fernando Meirelles directs and with genius combines style and purpose to create a unique film experience. The editing and cinematography are both top notch as multiple story lines and characters are interwoven into a fast-moving but deeply focused film. What makes City of God different from most urban dramas is the honest portrayal of how violence and poverty affect the development of children and young adults. The film is bleak but not without subtle bits of humor. It is this interjection of humor that allows the viewer to know and feel the young character's struggle. There are no Hollywood subplots, sappy plot twists, or exploitations of sex or violence. City of God beautifully shows a life of danger and desolation and how difficult it can be to make it out. But there is no happy ending. The film's veracious perspective of a cyclical pattern of violence and turmoil beg the question of what can be done to make changes.

Good For: genuine film fans

Bad For: those who can't read subtitles, people who liked Rush Hour 3

The Gallery
The Economist: * * * * *
The Film Maker: * * * *
The Writer * * * * *

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