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City of God
Year:
2002
Country:
Brazil, France
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Alexandre Rodrigues as Buscapé Criança - Young Rocket
Leandro Firmino as Dadinho - Li'l Dice
Phellipe Haagensen as Bené Criança - Young Benny
Douglas Silva as Dadinho - Li'l Dice
Jonathan Haagensen as Cabeleira - Shaggy
Matheus Nachtergaele as Sandro Cenoura - Carrot
Seu Jorge as Mané Galinha - Knockout Ned
Jefechander Suplino as Alicate - Clipper
Alice Braga as Angélica
Emerson Gomes as Barbantinho - Stringy
Edson Oliveira as Barbantinho Adulto - Older Stringy
Michel de Souza as Bené Criança - Young Benny
Roberta Rodrigues as Berenice - Bernice
Luis Otávio as Buscapé Criança - Young Rocket
Storyline: Brazil, 1960's, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970's: Li'l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980's: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.
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Reviews
A Mindblowing Masterpiece!
This movie is absolutely amazing! It is a cinematic tour de force. It is undoubtedly one of the top ten best movies ever made. Comparable to American masterpieces such as Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction. But it is its own unique film.

It is based on a true story of one boys desperate attempt to survive and escape the city of god (the slums of Rio de Janeiro) a truly brutal and violent place. A place where murders, holdups, drugs, and criminals are commonplace.

This film announces the presences of a truly talented filmmaker, Fernando Meirelles. He directs this film with a ferocious, frantic, intensity perfectly merging every aspect of the film. He uses many different filming tricks from split screen to freeze frame. Each one is used at exactly the right time for the exact right reasons.

All of this combines to make an unforgettably perfect cinematic masterpiece that i highly recommend. 10/10 A++
2005-05-04
original
City of god is a different film. Its one of a kind. There aren't many films like it. There is a fair bit of criticism standing against this movie. Such as it being too violent, not appealing to everyone or it being in Portuguese, therefore being subtitled. Without these factors 'City of god' is an almost perfect movie. I don't mind those factors. I don't mind it being violent or being in Portuguese , just that some people do.

Its a long movie, that makes a lot sense, its incredibly interesting and its got a bit of everything ,due to the unclear plot. The child actors in the movie are also very good.This makes it even better. You can tell the film was very well thought out, with great ideas and really well made with an obvious large amount of effort put into the making. The ending is really good an ends the movie perfectly.

'City of god' also widens your awareness massively of the poverty, drugs , police abuse and general danger young adults and children experience in these environments and developing countries. This film was set in Brazil. Despite all the violence, the movie is being looked at from the perspective of a non-violent individual.I recommend this movie for any adult , due to it being a bit too much for children. GREAT MOVIE DEFINITELY WATCH IT
2016-06-30
Degraded perspective about degradation in a polished videoclip packaging
My opinion on this movie has rapidly degraded as hours and days passed by. I too, as the movie progressed, got involved in the neat technical package, and violence in itself was not so disturbing... you know, we are civilized 21st century men! we love violence (when we are not directly involved with it), plus we love violent movies and this one, well,was just a punch to the stomach a bit harder than the previous ones. And then the story, ooh, it was so wisely penned! with that delicious ironic look à-la Tarantino to smooth the edges of the bullet holes.

But after a couple of days I focused my thoughts and decided that I did not like it. I found it disquieting. Not because of the violence and degradation depicted. I'm partially editing my previous comment just because I know that the average 20 y.o. boy (who is, I think the average and perfect audience for this movie) is not able to understand a subtler critical stance about violence in movies and only thinks "hey, violence exists so why movies should not show that?", and that's the reason why such a movie is currently ranked as the 18th best movie in the History of Cinema. Makes me think that when internet will be accessible by all 6 y.o. children, "The Lion King" will quickly surpass this pretentious movie.

So what's wrong with violence in THIS movie? It's the way that the director has chosen to treat it. Can you show kids aged 8 that roam through the streets killing light-hearted and selling drugs? Yes, it's not shocking to show that, it sure happens for real in some damned place of humanity. Can you show kids aged 8 who smell death with terror in their eyes (the real terror, like only kids can feel) before getting shot because they have crossed paths with some leading gang? Yes, it's horrible but it probably happens for real. Can you take all this nauseating stuff about our refined societies and bring it on screen packaging it like an MTV videoclip? big show, hip music, special effects, frenzied camera movements? Yes, you can, but you risk total failure in delivering your message. If Meirelles' and the like's intention was to point their fingers at this degradation and tell the world "Look at what it's happening! How can it be possible that we are not able to change all this?", and they wanted to attain this with the lighter feeling of irony... well, then they totally failed! With their opportunistic art they have just shown to be a mechanism of the social processes that lead to that same degradation.

How many of these "10 star-brilliant-astonishing-movie" people still bring in their stomachs the look of those kids after the coke and pop-corn have been digested? This is the point: this movie is just like a fireworks show with no moral queue, and the only sensational thing about it is the way it misses the real targets... politicians, police, businessmen and foreign governments. And as for the presumed realism... please, don't make me laugh: just learn that "spectacular" and "realistic" are antonyms.
2006-04-05
City of God
The City of God takes you to a place about as far from the idea of heaven that we are given as the years have gone on. In this film we are able to see how our narrator Rocket and a boy the same age as him named Lil Ze do with the lives they have been given in lawless city. This film gives a great insight into the dangers of living in this dangerous neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro and how just where you live and are brought up can affect your life in so many ways. It also shows to us how people can judge you by where you live and made snap decisions about you when they learn where you are from. Time and time again in this film we are shown how characters can are expected to be part of a gang because of where they live and how they cannot keep certain jibs because the owners learn where they are from. We are also shown the different possibilities someone faces when you grow up in a bad neighborhood. Do you stay and rule the neighborhood, try to get out and die, get out then get brought back, or be that lucky few who gets out and has a future. Overall I felt like this was an outstanding film and gave a great look at the struggles of growing up in a bad neighborhood and feel anyone should watch it to give themselves something to reflect on that may never occurred to them before.
2017-10-16
City of Bad
Let me start from the beginning,I saw this movie had a rating of 8.7,I say that this must be really good,after a few days I decide to watch it.During the movie,I was like "wtf am I watching right now?" I mean seriously,first of all the movie has no story,no plot.It serves no purpose.Is this so highly rated because it shows poverty and how difficult life is in these neighborhoods?I just don't get it.Second,the characters...its like there is no protagonist whatsoever,its just a big mess of guys,that you don't care about,not even the protagonist,he is like non-existent,they are like to many that you don't even remember who is who during the course of the film,and some poor dialogue,its just not even amusing to watch them talking.Third,I actually like violence in my films,but this one,the scene where they shoot the two little kids,I watched it in disgust.It was cold and not pleasant to watch.And before you say, "yeah but this is what happens in the Favelas" how are you sure?So you tell me the local drug kingpin goes around and kills innocent little kids?Its not even realistic.In general for a gangster movie it was really not great.There were some good scenes and moments in the movie,but that's that.And the worst thing is that this movie could actually be really good.There is no charm in poverty.You like watching poor people and small time shitty gangsters in a movie with no plot?Then this movie is for you.5/10 might seem a big high after witnessing my negative opinion,but I rated it as such because it was watchable...a bit and was not entirely terrible.Surely it was bad but not terrible.

For the finale,don't watch it.You are not going to miss something,there are better 2 hour long movies you can watch out there
2016-05-18
Extremely somber and violent, but overall incredibly riveting
Not many crime films come as dark, gritty, or even violent as this one. And unlike most crime stories set in America, this film paints a brutally honest picture of the harrowing lifestyle that dictates the third-world country of Brazil. With the visceral direction by Fernando Merielles and Katia Lund, viewers are dragged into a grueling but significantly honest experience of the difficulties in growing up in a world where violence and crime is practically a way of life than an obstacle in society. Set in the 1960s and 1970s, the film takes place in Rio De Janeiro which most people refer to as City of God, a poverty-ridden city in Brazil where employment is very low, the crime rate is devastatingly high and just about everyone from young elementary-school age children to adults carry a gun. Those are not employed resort to robbery and murder for financial support. Enter Rocket (played by Alexandre Rodrigues), a young boy growing up in the violent slums of Rio De Janeiro with the dreams of becoming of a photographer but finds his future obscured by the everyday crime including the robbery and homicide by his brother Goose (played by Renato De Souza) and his gang. Competing with his gang is Lil Ze (played by Leandro Firmino), a young boy with a thirst of violence who grows up to work his up the crime ladder to become the leader of the most dangerous gang in Rio De Janeiro. As these two gangs cross paths, the result is a war that spirals gravely out of control.

This film is in no means fun to watch, it is extremely violent, brutally somber, and at times incredibly difficult to sit through. But the most earnest quality here is: it's authentic. While most crime films deal with characters getting involved outside the law to achieve something of their desires, this film tackles crime as a natural societal lifestyle simply because it takes place in a town in Brazil where violent crime is a composition of their society. And it doesn't try to glorify violence but to show the inhuman consequences that result in such heinous activity. Whenever a character, major and minor, is killed you can't help but feel deeply for the character, and the emotional resonance delivered in these scenes never feel forced. As the story moves, you watch as the main character develop from a boy struggling from moral ambiguity and the overwhelming influence of his fellow friends who rely on firearms to squeeze their way out of unwanted situations, to a young man who begins to realize the damage it causes him and roots for a better future. The outcome is one powerful character granted by an ingenious performance by Alexandre Rodrigues. The most compelling feature of this character however, comes from his conflict with Lil Ze and his gang. Leandro Firmino gives a intriguing performance as Lil Ze, a sociopathic young man wrapped in his own bloodlust since childhood and with no desire other than to be the most feared man in town. If you are not disturbed by flashbacks of him as a little boy shooting a man and woman while laughing like a child watching a clown at birthday party or a youngster forced to shoot a little kid in the foot, I don't know what will. The conflict that embroils between him and the main character Rocket provides a visceral tension that moves the story very well while paying plenty of emotional investment.

City of God is a deeply riveting drama that leaves a powerful impact very few can deny. This is a film punctuated with astounding performances, solid writing, and an ultimately uncompromising direction. It is disappointing that this film was overlooked for an Oscar for Best Picture nomination, though it is likely due to the grim material. The film is worth watching but perhaps not one you'll want again after first viewing due to the dark atmosphere and overall brutality.
2016-05-31
Not worth the hype
Nowadays some consider a movie to be phenomenal as long as it shows tragical poverty and violence. It is so distinct from their lives that they unconsciously feel "educated" by seeing the film; praising the film therefore becomes a way of self-elevation.

City of God's fancy cinematography did not appeal to me. Unnecessary stylization in this case offends the serious topic, in my opinion. Feels more like a showcase than a honest presentation.

If one wants to dig deep into tragic elements in order to make a teary, "shocking" film, he can always go as far as his claws can take him. But there's a stopping point by which the whole thing becomes a sham too pretentious to be appreciated. A 10 year-old running around killing everyone and then enjoys himself a couple of evil laughs (that are made to echo to achieve "epic" cinematic effects)? "Cliche" would be an understatement...

I haven no objection to the theme of the movie. By all means such horrifying situations do exist in reality. But I really wish the approach to present the themes was different.
2009-11-21
Good film with subtitles
Have watched this film 4 or 5 times now and still doesn't get boring. Shows you how life is lived on the streets of Rio and is pretty real life from the way the camera tells the story. From what i have read a lot of the actors and actresses were not know as the director wanted to tell the story of real life people from the ghettos. The story has some great twists and turns and a lot of great action scenes. The gang of children that stick together as a family and the way the robbed and stole together brought to life what they must have to go through in real life.

My review is 9 out of 10 for this film
2015-01-13
One of the most impressive (not to mention important) films of the last few years
The title "City of God" is steeped in irony, which becomes all too apparent to the viewer within minutes of watching this. Despite a few points of stylistic influence (namely "Goodfellas"), "City of God" is one of the most memorable films of the new millennium. It uses the sort of flashy editing and quick cuts made popular in mainstream cinema. While this technique can be very tiresome and headache inducing (witness anything by Michael Bay or McG), it can occasionally be used for good effect. To truly capture the frantic danger of the slums of Rio de Janeiro you need truly kinetic film-making to complement it. This film is a triumph in that sense. The film becomes quickly paced as all hell but to its own advantage. You often feel as if you're the center of the action presented on screen. In addition to the mind-blowing style of the film, it actually has an engrossing story to tell with interesting and sympathetic characters.

A film such as this needs a sense of epic for the proceedings to truly work. Therefor we follow the characters throughout the years and through the good times and bad. Despite how horrible the actions they commit, we really get a sense of feel for every person in the film. "City of God" is a completely (and sadly) realistic work. Hopefully this film will call attention to what is taking place in the favelas, because its an unfortunate situation that has been devoid of amnesty for too long. "City of God" is slightly flawed (it can become confusing occasionally and the style grows slightly thin towards the end), but overall its one of the most impressive (not to mention important) films of the last few years. (8/10)
2006-12-27
One of my top 10
I have made an effort to watch all the movies in IMDb's top 100 rated list. As of now, I'm looking for a place where the DVD for Sunset Blvd. is (currently at #30). But this movie is one of the movies I've seen that's on the list. And I find it an amazing film (currently #5 on my top 10 list). What I enjoy about this film is the visual look of the film, but also the way the director puts you in the story. At the end of the film you have become friends with just about everyone in the film, even though some of the characters are very despicable people. The violence hits you in the chest like a load of bricks sometimes, especially when you recognize that many of the kids involved in the violence are right around 10 or 11, but you also realize that this reflects the culture of the slum these kids live in.

Gangster films always seem to make for good dramas (e.g. the Godfather, Goodfellas), where the culture of evil almost always triumphs as the dominant character. This film is no different, but it shows the life of children in places where bribery and corruption reigns supreme. It also shows the bravery of many of these people when even the government won't stick up for them.

If you're thinking of starting to watch some foreign language films, this is a good place to start. It is a classic IMO among films made in languages besides English. I did find that the subtitles in this film were done rather poorly (they displayed on my DVD player at the wrong times and it took a few plays to figure out who was saying what.) But I think the film itself is a truly great film.
2004-11-26
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