Wednesday, July 05, 2006

City of God

Cidade de Deus in Portugese, screened at the 2002 Cannes festival, and based on a true story, this gangster movie is as realistic and raw as it can get.

It starts off with a 'confrontation' scene between Rocket and Li'l Zé, in their early twenties, and then goes into flashback mode tracing their stories from childhood. They grow up in the "City of God". Li'l Zé grows up as a kid who can do anything to make it big as a gangster and become famous, and succeeds in becoming the most feared gangster in the land along with his less-violent and more-practical best-friend-from-childhood Benny, killing everyone who stood in his way. Rocket is much softer and finds a passion for photography within himself. Things get ugly when Li'l Zé wants to eliminate his "competitor" Carrot and his enemy 'Knockout' Ned and things begin to get out of hand with a bunch of kids snapping at his heels.In the midst of all this, Rocket gets a chance for a major break which would boost his aspirations to be a photographer with the local newspaper.

This is a brilliantly shot movie with most of the cast in the age group of 5-25. As one of the characters in the movie explains - "You would be lucky if you lived to be 25 (or was it 20) in the City of God", which is a testimony to how brilliantly violent the movie is. The story also traces the impact of Li'l Zé and his rise on the kids in the city and how they "grow up". Most of the scenes in the movie involve gunshots, chases, drugs and fights, and this is supposed to be a true story! And the ending of the movie is as realistic as it gets. You will have no difficulty in beleiving that this is an absolutely true story inspiste of the powerfully grim visuals involved and the expletives that are very freely used.

Possibly to supplement the claim that this is a true story, there is a news video which appears a bit into the end credits which shows the real 'Knockout' Ned talking to the press after he was arrested by the police, and talking almost exactly the same lines as in the same situation in the movie. This movie does not try to fictionalise any of the events and cram in any stuff in the script that is difficult to believe.

By far, one of the most realistic movies I have ever seen. This is my fav gangster movie, if you could call this one!

2 scribbles:

Anonymous Anonymous says...

It's a good movie in its own right.

If you're speaking in terms of a "gangster" movie, it's no way as good as Godfather(and Part II), and perhaps Goodfellas.

I wouldn't call it a "gangster" movie though. Yes, there's a lot of violence, inter-gang wars and such, but not enough to qualify the "gangster" term in the strictest of sense, like Godfather.

It's much similar to the violence found in LA. Just mindless, stupid violence and lots of dope. The movie is more about depicting lives of the poor in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro.


6:19 PM  
Blogger Sudhi says...

It is one of my favourite movie. The way the director narrates the story is excellent. read a brief review of this movie on my blog.

10:52 AM  

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