Review: City of God

City of God
Cidade de Deus (2002, Brazil)
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund

City of GodYou’ve heard the hype: the focus of the story is on ‘Cidade de Deus’ (‘City Of God’), a housing project constructed by the Brazilian government in the 1960s to isolate the poor from Rio de Janeiro’s city centre. It chronicles of the growth of gang warfare and the drug trade that grip the ‘favelas’ or slums of Rio de Janeiro.

Lots of actions that somewhat remind me of John Woo, you wish realities were that simple. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t enjoy it (at least more than I did Woo’s films), but it is uncomfortably unsettling to see all these one-dimensional gung-ho stints placed at the expense of underdeveloped, underplayed caricature of one of the world’s worst slums (I’m almost tempted to say exploitative). But I guess in “sleek” movies (whose main purpose is to, d-uh, entertain) dealing with these kinds of grim subjects one’s bound to find the drama/action to be trivialising the bigger issues. I’d say watch this as a company of Bus 174, instead of the other way around.

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