City of God (2002)

Brazil is such a fucked up place to be!

Buscapé (Alexandre Rodrigues) is frightened he’ll end up like the countless others around him — troubled, violent or dead. But his saving grace is his photographer’s eye, through which the stories of several people who live in his forsaken Cidade de Deus unfold. Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund direct this sobering look at life inside a Rio de Janeiro housing project, reputed to be one of the most dangerous parts of an otherwise magical city.

Before I start this review I just want to say one thing, and that is that this film none other than simply a masterpiece. I never thought I was going to be as astonished with this film as I was, and I’m so glad I’ve seen this.

Director Fernando Meirelles does a great job at constructing this film. Its spans over three decades, and features so many twists and turns with many different characters that you barely even know. He goes back and forth between decades without you even realizing he has, and your not confused one bit by all these characters and their reason for being in the film.It has this look of Pulp Fiction, and Memento as it shows an event happening but from different view points so that we fully understand what and why it happened.

The film is utterly disturbing. There are plenty of scenes that just contain random and innocent people being killed, women being killed, and the most disturbing children being killed. It’s all so very very disturbing but in a way it doesn’t feel exploited. I started to get used to the killing and I felt like I was there with them as this was happening. The violence is relentless and mostly done in a casual way so it doesn’t quite surprise anyone. The gritty look mixed with a lot of the drug abuse, and violence doesn’t feel fake at all, it effects you and makes you understand what these people go through on a day to day basis.

The cinematography is something that will really get you watching as well. The way the camera moves along with the action and the scenes it gets you in a sense of energy, and I’m kind of sure that some of the techniques used here were somehow used in Slumdog Millionaire, but I’m just saying. Also, the writing here is top-notch and it all feels like actual real dialouge and spoken by true and real people.

The best part of this movie is the characters that inhabit it. From the beginning we understand who these people are just based on by the actions and their morality choosing. Enough screen-time is given to enough of these characters for us to fully relate to them and understand who they are as a whole person, instead of just these savage gangsters. The acting here is really something to watch. They have ll these little kids from about 6 and 7, to about young men of like 18,19, and 20, but every one act as if they were all natural-born thespians. The best performance here and probably the most sinister is Douglas Silva who plays the main bad guy Li’l Ze and does an amazing job at being one of the biggest villains in any film that i have seen in a long time.

Consensus: City Of God is a masterpiece. It has wonderful and inspired direction, with a gritty and violent look that is disturbing but doesn’t feel exploited in any way, and great characters that are backed by increcible performances. This is one of the greatest films I have seen in a long time, and anyone that likes good movies should give this one a try, cause you will not be dissapointed.

10/10=Full Pricee!!!

BTW: Here is just one of the most Iconic Images in cinema history that will soon be hanging somewhere in my room very shortly.


  1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the film. It’s on my top ten list of 2003. I believe it was number two after “House of Sand and Fog.”

    “City of God” is a grim look at youth in Brazil. It’s brutal, but beatuiful to watch.

  2. I had to read this review, City of God was by far my favorite movie to watch and review in my English/foreign films class. The only thing you are missing in your review is the chicken, which for some very strange reason I became extremely attached to, and I seriously didn’t want him to die. Maybe it is because it was so rampant with death it was the one living thing I could hold out hope for.

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