So often we look at our own society as corrupt and maybe even evil. Old folks are often sipping their Ensure muttering about it's no wonder the terrorists want to kill us. Blame is thrown everywhere at our flaws usually directed at our president, but never to our own consumptions and apathy.
City of God takes place on the outskirts of Rio de Janiero, a tenement that makes a US ghetto seem like paradise. Two inhabitants capture the heart of the story, Lil Dice and Rocket. Lil Dice is small even for his age, but his lack of conscious and exposure to brutality set the path to a career criminal who's little more than a sociopath. Rocket is a simple boy who just wants to survive and try and live as normal a life as possible.
The movie then jumps a few years and we find Lil Dice, now called Lil Ze, is in control of a drug empire killing all of the competition with reckless abandon. Lil Ze hold no remorse for his acts of depravity and seems to get off on destroying the lives of those he finds smaller than him.
Rocket is still getting by enjoying the simple pleasures of life. He enjoys his new found hobby of taking photos. Rocket finds a girl who captures his interest and he captures her on film constantly. The girl; however is dating Lil Ze's brother, but still loves the attention Rocket gives her.
Peace in the City of God is fragile at best as Lil Ze controls most of the drug running. Rivals do appear from his own ranks and tensions mount. In an area riddled with guns, drugs, and a lifestyle that doesn't value humanity the fuse gets lit close to the powder keg and it's only a matter of time before it explodes.
City of God is an amazing film and few have captivated me as much as this one. The photography is kinetic and their use of color sits well with the dark themes. You will be amazed by the talent in these young actors and the script treats it's subject with a respect that never belittles them regardless of their actions. This film takes us places we will never go nor wish to. It's that slice of life that intrigues me about this story, one that makes you question whether evil is inherit or learned. It's not only one of the best foreign films I've ever seen, it's one of the best movies I've seen period. You should go rent this right now.
Thanks to Invisible G for submitting this. Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on Erik's Ramblings. Rules are posted here.
"Meirelles has crafted a distinctive motion picture -- one takes us into the streets with an unsurpassed intensity and immediacy." - James Berardinelli