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Cidade de Deus
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Reviews & Ratings for
City of God More at IMDbPro »Cidade de Deus (original title)

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17 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Degraded perspective about degradation in a polished videoclip packaging

4/10
Author: Mashi69 from Italy
5 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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while still fresh in my mind.......

Author: (bgbdesign@hotmail.com) from Columbus, Ohio
6 March 2003



Quite a gritty orange tinted vacation I had in the slums of Rio. I could almost taste the dust and feel the heat in some of the scenes. A bit jarring to have a story told in an order known only to the director but I dutifully followed along as it tied together and everyone connected.I'm positioned by the camera too close to faces of people in the apartment and I don't like the smell of fear and sweat. While this repetitive tale was overkill on murder and machismo,I don't complain for some reason. Perhaps in my drive-through bank and sushi world this is what I needed to see in order to understand life doesn't change in the city of god,everyone dies and childhood ends when you can walk and hold a gun.A going away party and then you die....

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

...

8/10
Author: JaydoDre from Netherlands
15 July 2016

In City of God, the brilliance in movie making is rivaled only by the brutality.

It seems every technique known to man has been utilised in making film, which makes it feel like a masterpiece in the original medieval sense of that word. In particular, there is a lot of hand held camera and quite close up shots, which make sense and make the film really tangible and personal.

The writing is brilliant. A kid asks another kid what his name is during a brawl and the narrator uses that opportunity to tell the audience his name. A lot of smart little things like that, but the story itself has a good structure and smart turns.

I watched a whole lot of Oscar-winning Hollywood movies and they have just been dwarfed by this Brazilian one, but this crime drama is a really heavy movie to sit through. There is some really really messed up stuff here. Be warned.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Goodfellas of Brazil!

9/10
Author: tankace from athens
30 June 2016

City of God is by far the best film about the underdeveloped areas of Brazil and the fact many of the actors, producers and crew were from the district of the same name gives to the flick much more faithfulness to its source. In summary go watch for it is amazing, brutally honest and it doesn't fear to be funny, make the characters likable and to show the more day to day problems of life, like as the narrator say" find a girl".

This is important because a lot of people believe that ,in areas with high crime rate life is 24 /7 miserable ,well it has its dark moments yes, but humans are adaptable and can find happiness anywhere they live and this film shows that in an excellent way. The performances from even the little kids are great and you almost think that you saw a documentary with the realism in the scenes. That's because is partially true for the film is based on the accounts of the real life inhabitants of the City of God in Brazilia Brasil.

Here we see the story of this area from its foundation in the sixties to the urban and dirty environment of the eighties as we follow our narrator Rocket who lives in the area and we learn through him the history, the habits ,the inhabitants and status quot at any given moment in the story. For a film made with only 3,3 million dollars it is amazing directed and thank God ,dispite the low budget no sake camera! The people we meet in the City have their flaws and redeeming qualities, which is awesome, for it makes them totally human.

The only sad part isn't that the film isn't known or praised or even didn't make money ( it make 30,6 millions). The tragedy lays to the fact that thirty years after the events of the movie took place, the urban centers of Brazil and in general South America haven't ,with the exception of Chile and Ecuador, got better and crime, drugs ,police brutality and corruption still ruled these areas and unfortunately the problem doesn't show and sign of recovering.

I really liked it and I am total to my title "The Goodfellas of Brazil" for this historic gangster flick has influenced it and the writers have said that took inspiration from "Funny how?", but they didn't copied it, they studied its best parts and applied them to the story while being faithful to their own vision of how to make a great film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Damned if u do, damned if u don't.

10/10
Author: Takethispunch from Greenland
19 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film received worldwide critical acclaim, receiving four Academy Award nominations in 2004: Best Cinematography (César Charlone), Best Director (Meirelles), Best Editing (Daniel Rezende) and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (Mantovani). Before that, in 2003 it had been chosen to be Brazil's runner for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but it was not nominated to be one of the five finalists.

City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus) is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film co- directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, released in its home country in 2002 and worldwide in 2003. The story was adapted by Bráulio Mantovani from the 1997 novel of the same name written by Paulo Lins, but the plot is loosely based on real events. It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li'l Zé and vigilante-turned- criminal Knockout Ned.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

aok

9/10
Author: Gabriel Jenei from Hungary
4 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Set in Brazil in the 1970s, the film tells the story of Rocket (Alexandre Rorigues in an excellent, understated performance), a teenage boy living in an extremely violent area of Rio De Janeiro called The City of God. Like most boys his age, all Rocket wants is to get laid, smoke a little blow and chill with his friends. However, the violence around him not only complicates this it throws him smack dab in the middle of it. When he loses his low paying job, he watches with envy the carefree life of the drug lords Lil Zee and Benny (Leandro Firmino and Phellipe Haagensen respectively) who run the ghetto. They flash money and ride brand new motor scooters through the streets of the hood. When he loses his girl to the more enigmatic gangster Benny, Rocket declares in frustration, "It was like a message from God: Honesty doesn't pay, sucker." Seeing delinquency as the only way to prosper, Rocket decides to pursue criminal ventures of his own. Fortunately, Rocket and his equally square buddy, prove to be the most inept of criminals. They don't even have the heart to rob a lost drunk who has unwittingly gotten lost in the slums. Rocket soon resigns himself to the fact he's no criminal. He's one of the nobodies. One of the thousands whose fate is in the hands of a few crazy fools with guns. Luckily for Rocket, fate was waiting around the corner with a better hand for him to play.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

City of Bad

5/10
Author: Steve Epsilon from United States
18 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant

10/10
Author: grantss from Sydney, Australia
22 December 2015

Brilliant.

Set in a notorious slum of Rio - Cidade de Deus / City of God - the story of a boy who sees his friends and brother grow up or aspire to be gangsters, and decides to do something else. Meanwhile we also see the power struggles in the neighbourhood, how they developed, who the main protagonists are and the state of their feud.

A superb story, well told. While the story ultimately spans a few decades, there is no excess detail, and the movie never drifts or is boring. Incredibly gritty.

Solid performances too.

A classic.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A must see

9/10
Author: scottbslade
9 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

City of God is an exciting, action packed, and breath taking film. Large amounts of colors and thrilling camera angels are used to tell this tropical story. The film takes place in the slums of Rio De Janeiro, where the people party and police are long away. Director Fernando Meirelles does an awesome job of bringing the crime filled, poverty-stricken, gangland to life. The movie opens up with a group of young men on a wild chase after a chicken. This is when Rocket, the narrator, enters the film. The film flashes back to show Rocket's and his peers' crime filled childhood. Then a young child named Lil' Dice, later known as Lil' Ze, is introduced into the story. Lil'Ze's story will be told along side Rocket's. Rocket becomes a photographer when he receives a stolen Camera as a gift. From that point on, he builds a love with the art of photography. Rocket gets a small gig working with the newspaper in his city. His camera roll gets in the hands of another photographer and they use the pictures Rocket took of a terrifying gang leader. When the head gang leader, who happens to be Lil'Ze, sees he made the newspaper he becomes excited from the publicity. Rocket on the other hand, thinks it the end of his life, but actually gets recognition from both sides. The newspaper starts to pay him to continue with more pictures of the gangs. Rocket ends up scoring big when he gets some pictures of a death of a young gang member that was killed by a cop. Rocket becomes a professional photographer and makes it out of the "City of God." City of God is more than just an action and crime filled story. It is the tale of a young man making it out of a city where no one ever makes out. The contrast of Lil' Ze and Rockets lives are powerful among each other. It shows the reality of the slums of Rio De Janeiro. You either gang bang or hope you make it out with a talent. With the whole film being in Portuguese it gives it an authentic feel. Despite having to read the subtitles the film is easy to follow and stay connected to. The different culture amazes me but also shows it has a lot of similarity to the US crime movies. This is a great film and I highly suggest it. To me it's a classic must see gangster crime film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Realistic and honest

9/10
Author: kimberlymendez from United States
30 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

City of God captures the brutal life that is lived in the hoods of Brazil. From the beginning of Rockets flashbacks, you see the poverty that surrounds everyone; the small shorts worn with shirts that barely cover their stomachs or don't even have a shirt, the small houses crammed together that are falling apart, rusted old cars, and the run down shops shape the poverty of the town. There were only two ways to get out of it. One, leave the City Of God, but that's virtually impossible, as seen when Benny was preparing to leave but was shot. The other way, become part of the drug world and get to the the top. This is what Lil' Ze did, and what all children aspire to do. Ze, like many other boys, saw how violence and drugs would give people 'great' lives from a young age. Ze demonstrates how this lifestyle of a drug dealer ultimately is not your rise, but actually your fall. He was born in violence and died in violence. But the brutally honest part isn't in the amount of violence seen throughout the entire movie, it is the last scene that truly captures the horrors of the City of God. The kids that killed Ze, were now 'in charge' of the business that all kids want to be in, and as they walk away with guns in their hands talking about making a blacklist of all the people they are going to kill, you realize that this vicious cycle never ends. History will keep repeating itself over and over again with the next generation, and unless you have greater dreams in life like Rocket, you will become what everyone does, a drug consumed man controlled by violence.

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