Elite Squad (2007) Poster

(2007)

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10/10
Amazingly good... and horrifying
lurple12 November 2007
Tropa de Elite is an amazingly good film; by turns brutally real and horrifyingly hilarious.

It claims to be based on a true story and I find that sadly believable. The main plot revolves around the captain of an elite police unit trying to find a replacement for himself, while dealing with the birth of his child and the horrendous stress of his job, and a mission to clear out a dangerously violent slum.

There are no wholly good people in the movie, and it's frighteningly easy to compare some of what goes on to things happening in the USA (and other places) today. That said, the system of government and policing portrayed comes across as so amazingly inept and awful that it's almost like something straight out of a nightmarish sci-fi dystopia.

If I had to compare it to other movies, it comes off as a cross between Brazil, Office Space, and Full Metal Jacket. Not for the weak of stomach, and you may find yourself greatly disagreeing with the ideals of various groups portrayed (which I believe is part of the point), but I would be enormously surprised if this movie doesn't make you think and give you something to talk about.
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10/10
Holy mother of corruption and truculence!!!
Diego Moita17 October 2007
"City of God" was just a perfect movie. "Elite Squad" goes beyond that; it's a WTF movie.

Brutal realism, terrific acting (Wagner Moura... wow), brilliant script and plot, precise edition, unforgettable quotes... This movie is just insanely good.

If you live in a developed country you'll probably think this is just another thriller. For anyone living in a 3rd country it's way more than that: it's a brutal picture of our degradation and corruption, a revelation that runs over you like a truck.

The most striking aspect about the movie is how clearly it shows how everyone is at the same time guilty and victim in the whole war against drugs: the do-gooders NGOs, the politicians, the corrupt police and the not-corrupt but truculent "Elite Squad". It shows it precisely but with sense of humor and very smartly. In this war, everyone that proclaim to have moral and values is actually hiding skeletons in the closet. It's all a story of gangsters against gangsters in a degraded society.
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10/10
An X-Ray of Rio de Janeiro Police Forces and Part of the Brazilian Society
Claudio Carvalho27 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In 1997, before the visit of the pope to Rio de Janeiro, Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) from the elite squad BOPE (Special Police Operation Battalion) is assigned to eliminate the risks of the drug dealers in a dangerous slum nearby where the pope intends to be lodged. Captain Nascimento is trying to find a man to replace him because his wife is pregnant and he intends to quit the command and become a trainer of the new recruits. Meanwhile, the two idealistic friends Neto (Caio Junqueira) and Matias (André Ramiro) join the Military Police force expecting to become honest policemen and fight the criminals. However, they see only corruption, lack of competence and efficiency, manipulation of data and stupid bureaucracy in the Military Police, and after a serious incident in the Morro da Babilônia, they decide to join the BOPE. The lives of Capitain Nascimento, Neto and Matias are entwined along the next months, first in the tough training period and then in action against drug dealers. Nascimento believes that Neto could be his substitute, but his impulsive attitudes jeopardize his choice. Later, the intelligent Matias seems to be the correct choice, but he needs to prove that he has heart.

"Tropa de Elite" is the most impressive and realistic movie I have ever seen about the police forces in Rio de Janeiro and the role of the society in Brazil. In a city surrounded by more than seven hundred slums, actually lands without law and ruled by drug lords, this movie depicts the corruption of dirty policemen, the incorrect behavior of part of the society and the importance of the BOPE, a team of well trained men that can be compared to the American SWAT. The narrative in off of Captain Nascimento follows his saga, showing an obstinate man divided between his professionalism and love for his career and his family; Neto, an impulsive and honest military policeman, but not smart to be a leader; and Matias, who is studying in law school and is very intelligent and also honest, but is not totally committed with his responsibilities of policeman. The story is so realistic that seems to be a documentary with scenes very well choreographed. The direction of José Padilha is simply outstanding, using a magnificent screenplay and excellent actors and actresses. In an inevitable comparison with "Cidade de Deus" ("City of God"), these movies complement each other. "Cidade de Deus" discloses the lives of criminals, and "Tropa de Elite" of policemen and part of the society. This movie should be nominated to the Oscar, but unfortunately what the Academy usually selects does not correspond to the best of the cinema. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Tropa de Elite" ("Elite Squad")

Obs: (a) On 29 September 2007, I saw this outstanding movie again with a group of friends and family.

(b) "Tropa de Elite" was awarded with the Golden Bear of the Berlin Festival on 16 February 2008.

(c) The DVD is scheduled to be released on 28 February 2008.

(d) Many expressions used in this movie ("Aspira" ("Ensign"), "Bota no Saco" ("Put in the Plastic Bag"), "Pede Para Sair" ("Ask to Get Out"), "Você é Moleque Não é Caveira" ("You Are a Kid, not a Skull") etc.) have been incorporated in Brazilian Popular Culture.

(e) "Bota no Saco" ("Put in the Plastic Bag") the Brazilian Commission that has not selected this movie to dispute a nomination to the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language category.
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8/10
Turned out really, really well
jacob-noergaard23 November 2008
Having seen "Cidade de Deus" and thoroughly enjoyed it (though it is a grim tale), I was at first having high hopes for "Tropa de Elite". Then I thought that it could never reach the same high standards, and my hopes were lowered a great deal.

About 3 months ago I happened to see about 15 minutes of the movie, and that lowered my hopes even more. How wrong I was to judge such a great movie on what must have been an unfortunate 15 minutes.

I won't go into detail about the story, but it is both believable and compelling. Like "Cidade..." this is no fairy tale. It's the world as it is. No more, no less. Of course, there might not be that many guns blazing in reality, but I'd reckon this isn't very far off.

We feel the pain, the lack of morale and the despair and hopelessness. Photography is spot on, the acting is both fantastic and realistic. "Tropa de Elite" never went into the big theaters here in Denmark which is rather unfortunate, since it's a true gem. Instead we get loads of mainstream crap. Not to sound arrogant, I watch loads of mainstream movies too (voluntarily, even), but it's movies like this that made me love movies as fondly as I do.

Do yourself a favour. Get this on DVD. See it. Feel the pain. Immerge yourself in the desperate world. Then, after it's all over, enjoy your life, a life that will seem much, much brighter after this.
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10/10
This movie will make you think, then it will make you angry, then you will want to fight.
Gustavo Moura25 August 2007
The movie tells the story of BOPE, which is equivalent to the SWAT in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Only difference is that, in Rio, the police is so corrupt, that they often must fight for themselves.

The movie has action - a lot of action-, and it also touches on deep sociological problems that plague the city to these days. It's a great compliment to City of God and, in my opinion, even better. City of God shows how the drug problem started in Rio. This movie shows where the city is now.

Vagner Moura is perfect in his role. He's a great good-bad guy. The movie is brilliant.
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9/10
BOPE makes SWAT look like a bunch of girl scouts
nvillesanti9 June 2010
After watching the amazing movie, City of God, a few years ago I just wanted to see more. Although Tropa de Elite has the same raw look of City of God, is different in content.

Tropa de Elite is about a group of Rio de Janeiro cops that grow tired of the system and declare war against crime and corruption and literally aren't taking any prisoners to the point that you just can't help but cheer for BOPE no matter their brutal methods of interrogation.

The photography is stunning and the action is extreme and realistic. You have to see this movie more than once because there is so much going in terms of plot and action that you might miss it. The story is well put together and the acting is as good as any, but what I liked the most was the sense of dread BOPE was able to inflict on the minds of criminals and corrupt cops. If you like City of God and City of Men, you will absolutely love Tropa de Elite. Highly recommended!
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9/10
...Brilliantly fleshed out characters lifts the film from being trite after the 1000th gunshot.
crey01424 July 2008
Kinetically filmed, "Tropa de Elite" reaches the dizzying heights of Fernando Meirelles' "Cidade de Deus", as not so much as a photocopy but more as a cinematic twin brother. Film focuses on the brutal, abet necessary foundations of Tropa de Elite, a one hundred strong company of men who swings into action when normal police gets held up themselves. Intense amount of corruption and violence is present here, however brilliantly fleshed out characters lifts the film from being trite after the 1000th gunshot.

The film being presented in two parts, we are indulged into an extended prologue to get acquainted with the protagonists: Captain Nascimento, feeling the stress as a 0-1, is on the lookout for a substitute between André Matias, a law student cum policeman struggling with his own identity and Neto, the ideal candidate as his replacement who's violent and relentless to a fault. Accompanied by a sometimes distracting voice over, the audience is given proper time to find themselves immersed in the narrative and characters. Even if the film's screenplay explodes every second of its almost 2-hour running time, personality development is not left on the back seat, to much relief.

Andre Ramiro's performance as André Matias is pitch perfect. Practically the film's moral backbone, he elucidates the distinction between pretending to know and knowing. The best scenes in the picture not involves scenes of brazen violent explosions but his rationalizing and character driven moments. The film uses his character to deter the judgmental audience from pretending to know but reminds them they know nothing.

Padilha is in control of the film until its very last shot; able to summon his own elite squad of cinematographers and sound technicians. The production values are top notch indeed, as the cinema also explodes with every bang and boom. Filmed in cinema verite, it gathers up inspiration from previous war-themed films – from the tones and hues of the mentioned "Cidade de Deus" to Alfonso Cuaron's blood splatter on the screen technique from "Children of Men". With the sound and images pushing the audience to its nauseating edge, full immersion is delivered without breaking a sweat.

Comparison to "Cidade de Deus" should be complementary, as "Elite" tackles the impotent depiction of policemen by the former. In fact, it acts as its contemporary, acting as if it exists on the same universe. It demands merit in its own right though, as the film is well staged like its depiction of training the elite, making it an involving exercise, not seen since Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket".

Immersive, hypnotic and engaging, "Tropa de Elite" guarantees Padilha to be noticed on a more mainstream circuit. Previously delivering "Onibus 174", also tackling the same themes of nurture and consequence as a catalyst to violence, he is able to comment on sensitive themes without being too preachy and also able to wrap it in a well produced package. Film is definitely an above average fare and is essential to be experienced on the big screen, just for its sound design alone.
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9/10
What a movie!
synthetic081222 February 2009
Wow! What a movie! It's breathtaking! I've seen it yesterday at Belgrades Film Festival, and I'm still thinking about it. It's very raw and very true, so powerful!

It's about life in poor areas of Rio De Janeiro. It's about everyday life that most of us can not imagine for a minute, but on the other hand, the characters in this movie live this kind of life almost without wanting to live different.

When the movie is over it makes you think about what is the price of living, and what is the price for your life, and the life of people around you.

The camera and editing are great, and the actors gave their best...

Wow! What a movie...
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10/10
Great Movie
safinahmed16 February 2008
This is one hell of a movie. I don't like to give 10 ratings to movies, because it's hard to find a movie that is excellent, but this one is.

While you watch the movie it's unavoidable to compare it to City of God (Cidade de Deus), and until the middle of the movie I was thinking to my self that City Of God was a better movie then this one, but when this movie ends and I summed everything I saw, it's was harder to choose one, but I believe this one is better, for several reasons.

First of all this movie has a great story, and focuses on real life issues, I'm not from Brazil, but I know some of this stuff is true. This story has emotion, feelings, twists, action, romance and even comedy for those who understand Portuguese I would say "Bota ai na conta do Papa" is a real funny statement. One of the things I loved about this movie was the acting, where Wagner Moura does one hell of a job, as a Captain trying to find a substitute so he can leave his job and be with his family. I wouldn't say I'm surprised because Brazilians are great actors, but still, I loved it.

In conclusion, if you like action, and like City of God, then you should definitely watch this movie.
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10/10
Not everyone is able to understand what this movie is about
jadougherty-118 April 2008
This movie will certainly be seen as another (perhaps good) thriller by most of the non- Brazilian audience. But the movie is not just that, in fact, it's way more than that. Several good thriller movies plenty of violence and shootings scenes have been produced in the last couple decades. But one thing is to inject a lot of money to make a movie on gratuitous violence and rely on special effects to make it get good critics, which then bring the desired money that moves the cinema industry. This is Hollywood, and this is definitely not what Elite Squad is about. The movie has raised and keeps raising important social questions among Brazilian citizens. The way the director tells the story without taking part in any side is genial; contrary to most north American movies, there's no good or bad guy in the story, the situation got to a point where things simply are the way they are. No particular point of view prevails and the viewer gets out of the movie with mixed sensations about what to think about all he sees. Victims of Brazil violence praise Captain Nascimento character to a level of national hero, whereas he ends by being hated by many others who dispraise his ignorance on human rights. There's also a thesis in the movie sustaining that all the violence is fruit of drug commerce, which would exist because the middle and high Brazilian classes buy the drugs to sustain their hedonistic life style. These are the same people that frequent movie theaters in Brazil, create the public opinion, and constitute the Brazilian intellectual society. Therefore – independently of the thesis being right or wrong – the movie somewhat also points the finger to the audience and blames it for all the violence. I think this is also genial, but one has to live there to really feel the whip of this blaming (again, one must have a bit of Brazil culture to really appreciate this movie). While you sit with your popcorn and hope for watching a good thriller, bear in mind that the violence you are seeing in Elite Squad is happening at this very moment, and this is what distinguishes this movie from other violent movies you saw.
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7/10
A hell of a story...but not the whole story
debblyst21 October 2007
"Tropa de Elite" isn't merely one more Brazilian film on urban violence; it's a cathartic socio-cultural phenomenon of almost unprecedented proportions in Brazil, the omnipresent theme on TV talk shows, newspapers articles, bars and dinner tables. Prior to its theatrical release this October, "Tropa" was seen by an estimated record 11 million people who bought pirate DVD copies or illegally downloaded it on the net (the biggest Brazilian box-office success in the last 25 years was "2 Filhos de Francisco" with 5,5 million tickets sold).

The reaction is passionately polarized: some call it the best Brazilian movie since "City of God" -- a definite influence here, in the cinematography, editing and screenplay structure, with an omniscient narrator and use of mixed chronology -- exposing the endemic corruption of Rio de Janeiro's police force and the "unorthodox" methods used by BOPE (the self-called "incorruptible" elite squad of Rio's military police force, created in 1978 and inspired by the U.S. SWAT) that include torture and shoot-first-ask-later modus operandi in the ultra-violent, ever-growing drug war in Rio's favelas. Others have publicly attacked it as fascist in its glorification of BOPE, its sadistic depiction of torture and the reductionist, simple-minded vision of the complex issues involving violence/ drugs/police corruption in Rio.

Director José Padilha and co-writer Rodrigo Pimentel (a former BOPE captain who left the squad for disagreeing with its praxis) had collaborated in the extraordinary "Bus 174", a multi-faceted documentary on Rio's violence. In "Tropa", they controversially chose to give us a deliberately biased vision of the problem: from the start we're stuck with one man, the overstressed, rebellious, self-righteous Capt Nascimento (Wagner Moura) in his journey into becoming a psychopathic sadist and hot-blooded killer, who believes drug traffic is caused by the druggie middle-class bourgeoisie (as if the poor didn't do drugs!) and claims the solution is to kill all traffickers. To Nascimento, corruption is abominable; torture isn't.

Nascimento is the film's absolute protagonist, narrator, commentator and "truth-puker". In his mind, all non-elite policemen are corrupt and incompetent, all charity NGOs in the favelas are cover-up fraudulent enterprises, all college students are useless double-faced potheads, and legal procedures are an inefficient waste of time. He's nearer to the traffickers' violent, revenge-based, lawless ethics than he's ever able to realize.

"There's nothing wrong with shooting people if you shoot the right people", used to say Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry back in the 1970s, and it could well be Capt. Nascimento's motto. He's a vigilante in uniform, in the tradition of the executioners played by Eastwood, Bronson, Stallone and 24 Hours' Jack Bauer; he's the heir to the 1970s' Brazilian military regime know-how on torture. Yet, the film tries hard at "humanizing" Nascimento: his wife's pregnant, his marriage falters, he's moved to tears by the suffering of a mother who lost her son in the traffic war, he's in medication for his panic attacks. AND he's trying to save the POPE's life, no less!

All the other characters are just rough sketches or caricatures. The one character who might be the classical "narrator/observer" (like Buscapé/Rocket in "City of God") is the idealist, Foucault-reading aspiring police officer Mathias (though it's hard to believe an aspiring officer could afford to attend Rio's most expensive law school). But Mathias, too, is finally co-opted by the brainwashing "Full-Metal-Jacket"-like BOPE training that changes him into an amoral beast fueled with rage.

Padilha says he wanted to portray Nascimento as a monster, and that audiences who are hailing Nascimento as a "hero" and BOPE as a "model" institution have caught him by surprise -- oh, really? Padilha is probably being sarcastic, naive or silly: everybody knows movie vigilante cops have been consistently idolized the world over (and co- writer Pimentel has publicly disagreed, stating the "Tropa" is clearly pro-BOPE). The graphic, sadistic scenes of torture -- supposedly meant to inspire disgust -- make the delight of a large vigilante-minded part of the audience. And Wagner Moura's extraordinary, scary performance as Nascimento is unsettling: we can't dismiss him as a stupid fascist the way we dismissed inarticulate stiffs like Bronson, Seagal or Stallone. The fact is that there's now a BOPE cult-following, with BOPE's logo (a skull pierced by pistols and knives) reproduced on t-shirts and underwear, BOPE officers being cheered in the streets in their armored "glory", and young kids (from all social classes) mimicking the film's "bag-in-the-head torture" as a new bullying style.

Militarists and pacifists will hardly change sides after the watching the film; militarists will have multiple orgasms and pacifists will cringe in horror. The filmmakers aren't interested in seriously discussing the drug issue (legalization is not even mentioned as an option). Nor in exposing Rio's drug traffic's multi-fingered interconnections, the zillion-dollar, highly organized international business involving farmers, money-washing executives, chemistry labs, gun-runners, bankers, politicians, accountants, lawyers, transport systems, etc. Nor in showing the real victims: the majority of the favela inhabitants, who aren't involved in the drug business but have to live under its rules, mere "extras" whose fate (in movies and in real life) is to be used, humiliated, segregated or, worse, wounded/killed by random bullets from BOTH policemen and traffickers.

"Tropa" is a must-see film, but it's misleading and entrapping: by opting for an "open", "what would YOU do?" ending (probably influenced by the breathtaking finale of "Paradise Now"), the filmmakers demands us to take sides about a very, VERY complex issue they've shown us only ONE angle of. "Tropa" is cinematically dazzling, but so physically and ideologically nauseating you'll need an antidote -- be sure to also watch the faceted, influential documentary "Notícias de uma Guerra Particular" and be aware of many other angles to a terrible reality that plagues not only Rio, but most of Third World's chaotic, no-man's-land, way out-of- control big cities.
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10/10
Terrific Thriller
Welington Santos16 August 2007
If you loved City of God and Carandiru, you have to see this movie. Maybe it's the most complex Brazilian movie about violence. It combines a discussion about the problem of violence in Rio de Janeiro, the police corruption and the society responsibility and, what is more important, Elite Squad is a terrific thriller: nervous, intriguing and entertaining. Cinema at it's best.

Bráulio Mantovani, from City of God, wrote the screenplay and Daniel Rezend, also from CDD, is the editor (Both nominated to the Oscar).

Above, one article about the film:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!)

characters lie dead in the street within minutes of the opening of Brazilian director Jose Padilha's new film which he hopes will shed new light on gang violence and police corruption in his country.

"Elite Squad," which Padilha wrote with former Rio police officer Rodrigo Pimentel, follows two young Rio de Janeiro police officers as their fantasy of implementing law and order disintegrates into bloodshed and corruption.

It details night raids through the makeshift homes of the city's hillside slums known as favelas, as well as the stark class differences that feed an appetite for riches among many of its poor residents.

Padilha, 39, said he had originally hoped to use the information he received from Pimentel for a documentary but quickly realized that it would not be feasible.

"How would I do this, go to corrupt cops with cameras?" he asks. "If I tried to make this film as a documentary, it would probably get me killed." Padilha, whose highly-acclaimed debut film "Bus 174" about a real-life bus hijacking in Rio was released in 2002, has strived to make the film as realistic as possible, shooting much of the film on the favelas' narrow streets.

"Elite Squad" is based on Pimentel's account of his tenure as captain of Rio's elite police force which has come under attack by Amnesty International for brutality.

Like "Bus 174," it exposes the darker elements of Brazil that contrast vividly with the nation's colorful, extravagant Carnival celebrations."
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10/10
It's not only about the fun you are going to have watching this peace of work but the truth you are going to see on it.
mwellisch27 August 2007
Elite Squad is a most see movie. Despite all of the frenesi it's causing all around, it has a good storyline, excellent screenplay and a brilliant performance from all the cast in the movie, especially Wagner Moura who deserves all prizes he can get for this great performance.

Basically the movie explores the fight between drug dealers and corrupt cops against the good policemen's, some of them from the military police force and most of them from BOPE. That's the way the director Padilha's sees this fight which is not entirely true. Although it shows how the corruption of the Military Police Force works out in Brazil, how the system is used against itself and how the bureaucracy makes everything so difficult that it's almost impossible for honest people to deal with their own personal issues without dealing with corruption. And by the way, that's entirely true.

The baseline of the movie is the story of Nascimento's, who is the captain of BOPE (Special Forces Operations Battalion) which can be compared to SWAT. Nascimento needs a replacement and he needs to find the right person, someone who has all of the qualities the job demands. Two guys come up to be this person but none of them have all it takes. Neto has the attitude, the heart, but he's not smart and centered as he's best buddy Matias. The only thing they have in common which is mandatory for the job is the honesty and the will of changing things for the better.

The movie has all the elements that makes us go to a movie theater. It has a storyline, it has action thriller, and it has a great performance from the cast, all of them.

If you are planning to spend your money in another blockbuster, don't do it! Give a chance to this great movie that explores the WAR that we, from Rio de Janeiro, have to deal with everyday. It's not only about the fun you are going to have watching this peace of work but the truth you are going to see on it.
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10/10
A movie depicting the harsh reality and politics of Rio de Janeiro
noob092 October 2007
Elite Squad has in my opinion surpassed the genius of Cidade de Deus. The movie is shot like a documentary, many times in fact I felt like I was intrigued and interested on how and what the police does to get around the city.

It is basically about the two main characters working their way up the police academy in Rio until they reach the BOPE unit. The training is shown to be very harsh, sometimes even dehumanizing. The movie depicts life of police men in the city and what they do to overcome the unfortunate bureaucracies. I will try hold myself to not say anymore because I do not want to spoil it for you.

This movie is violent. It is not unnecessary violence, because its depictions are said to be accurate. (Rio politicians have spoken about its veracity).

Even the production of this masterpiece was bounded by violence. While in production, part of the crew was kidnapped. An unedited version of Elite Squad together with dozens of fake weapons were stolen as well.

You will be amazed through out the whole film, thats a promise.
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10/10
So Much Trouble in the World
RainDogJr3 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Remember Cidade de Deus (City of God)? Well I think that if you saw at least one time that 2002 film, is for sure that you remember it so here is a new film that works on the same level, comes and is about the same place, of course, and that you will never forget.

With this sort of introduction you may think that Tropa de Elite is another Cidade de Deus but now from the side of the police and in a way you will be right but at the same time you will not because Tropa de Elite tells a story that involves and shows different points of views, acts and, the most important thing, how different parts of the society works in a delicate but real problem in Brasil.

That story has in Capitão Nascimento (Wagner Moura) our narrator and the experimented one who knows how everything works in the criminal side of Rio and who works in the BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais), the elite group of the Military Police. The situation in the film is the visit of the pope Juan Pablo II to Rio in 1997 and we are going the story before this visit through the eyes of different parts of the society: the police, the drug dealers and people from the favelas, part of the high class young and of course the BOPE. The friends Neto (Caio Junqueira) and André (André Ramiro) are the other important characters in our story. They are new in the business and because of their honesty soon they will understand how everything works inside the police and how they will end fighting not only against criminals but against the entire police system where everybody steals from anywhere. With André a part of high class young will enter to the story, when he start to study at one of the best universities of Rio, but of course first they don't know who is really André so they can act in their regular way when the party time begins or when they visit the favelas in order to satisfy their addiction and their own drug business. Now you can suppose how this can end, with corrupt cops making business with drug dealers and two honest cops trying to stop that and without real hopes. Here is when the BOPE enters, the elite that is respected by the drug dealers and the one that the police goes when they can't deal with a situation inside the favelas, which is always. And here we have a fantastic character study with our narrator. The situation is that he is going to be father and his beloved retirement of the BOPE is near but only if he can find a perfect substitute. Apart of this we have the terrific and probably realistic view to the BOPE itself, showing the impressive training in order to be a Skull and their philosophy that confirms that the BOPE is only for honest people with real skills and desires to end with the crime so weak and corrupt cops MUST and will stay outside.

Well the great story makes me write more about it than any other thing but is easy to describe the rest because is perfect: the setting, the impressive camera work (I believe that some scenes are stronger than any of Cidade de Deus), the direction, the research (although the film is based on the book Elite de Tropa) and of course the powerful and, for me, unknown cast (in Mexico the Cinema of Brasil, as any other except the one from Hollywood, is difficult to see on theaters or to get on DVD so personally and sadly this is only the second film from Brasil that I have seen but hell I love both a lot).

Conclusion: Tropa de Elite won the Golden Bear (the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival 2008) and even I'm not the kind of viewer who cares about prizes, that sometimes are unfair, I do know how an important prize help in the distribution of a film but is true that if a film won at the most famous festivals (Venice, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, etc) but is not at the Oscars (the case of Tropa de Elite) that film will not have any or the same attention in Mexico and of course in the US. So knowing that is very difficult to see a film from Brasil on theaters and knowing the amazing quality of Tropa de Elite, is a shame that is not having a response in my country and is far of the popularity of Cidade de Deus back in 2003. Anyway, the only thing that really matters is the fact that Tropa de Elite is by far the best film on theaters right now (in Mexico City), the best film that I have seen recently and probably the very best that I have seen this year. So this film is the film to catch this year when it arrives to your city. A MAGNIFICENT PICTURE!
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10/10
Fantastic!
Coyote27 August 2007
It's the best police movie I've ever seen.

It'so realistic, specially the shots. The "microwave" scene was also perfect!

There is nothing compared to this film! I haven't seen one single person who watched this film which have seen it only once. It will surely win festivals! The film is not finished yet (someone put it in the internet illegally)and it have been incredibly so well accepted by everybody who have seen it, so we can guess how it will be when it finally be released in the Cinema. It probably have been the most searched film in the internet in Brazil the last 2 weeks.

There are rumors it's censored and producers are fighting against that! Anyway, that's the best police film I've ever seen and surely the best of 2007.
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9/10
An impressive film (shame about the superficial and reactionary reviews)
Kit Collis24 October 2008
Elite Squad is an impressive and enjoyable film. It is well directed, well acted, and well worth watching.

There has been a lot of criticism of Elite Squad for being fascist. Such a perspective is disappointingly superficial. Too many critics have failed to distinguish the narrative perspective from the ideological perspective of the film. Although an admittedly reactionary and authoritarian BOPE member, Captain Nascimento, narrates it, the film's primary criticisms are regarding low pay for police, systemic corruption, and, the middle class's irresponsible consumption of drugs. As for any feeling that the brutal violence is justified that a viewer may be left with, this has more to do with the fact that in certain extreme circumstances desperate times call for desperate measures.
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10/10
City of God becomes Kid's Story after this movie...
stickdeath20 August 2007
If you have enjoyed City of God or felt like something was missing on it, then this is the movie you need to see. Everything here is placed respecting the reality... Scenes are very realistic and all action makes you feel like be in part of it. It shows how policemen are involved with criminals and how many policemen are not involved at all and get blamed by society due to some bad fruits. It shows how family can get affected how two guys with same purpose can get trapped in two different situations.. And shows how a man can be changed by the environment that simply leads him to do what he must. That's how we do a great movie without wasting millions of $$$. Perfect movie, dramatic, sensitive and intelligent.
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10/10
Do you want to see a action movie in the real life?? Here you have!
Adriano Pedro11 August 2007
Well, i don't know if this movie is gonna be exported or not, maybe yes 'cause some titles is in English, but this is a must seen movie! This is a action movie showing everything occurs in the Rio de Janeiro's police. War, corruption, fears, i think this must be the Brazilian movie of the year!

Let's talk about the history: Captain of BOPE (Special Police Operations Batallion in Portuguese) after some time fighting against organized crime in the slums wants to quit but before he must find a substitute.

The only ones that can do the test to goes BOPE are Military Policemen. Captain soon see that he have 2 good men in hands (they are infancy friends), 1 have heart and the other intelligence, but the substitute must have the 2 attributes.

The movie have about 110 minutes and keep your eyes on the screen from the beginning to end (a lot of shoot out), and title in English is Elite Squad.

Well i'll stop from here, but again, this is a must seen movie if you want to see a action movie in the real life, because we here in Rio de Janeiro live this, we see this, this is our war that is bit worse other wars.
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10/10
A Nutshell Review: Elite Squad
DICK STEEL28 September 2008
I just love a good ol cops and robbers movie, and Elite Squad shows that it indeed is a generous cut above the rest, and along the way had snagged the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival. If you're in for some gritty looking no holds barred movie that reflects the dangerous occupation of honest cops making a living in what's technically a war zone with the criminals, then look no further than this movie.

The movie works itself on many levels, having its narrative flow giving equal opportunity to each of its subject matter. On the surface, it looks very much like Hollywood's SWAT, but only much better, with its induction and training program where rookies get groomed from the mediocre to the cream of the crop in their attempts to join the BOPE, and on another level it tells of the friendship between two newcomers to the police force, where they're face with 3 options in an organization where corruption Is rampant – join in, turn a blind eye, or wage war. An additional level which held the movie throughout its different subplots is that of the headache when it comes to management succession.

When you're doing a good job, you find it difficult to either let go, or if you've come to terms with the inevitable of leaving the job that you like, finding someone appropriate to take over. It's like a father who intrinsically almost always disapproves of their daughter's boyfriends. Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) has this dilemma, being the leader of the crack Alpha team, he found that for the good of his family he has to leave the highly dangerous job where death is just around the corner each time they go on their missions. But in order to do so, and to ensure his men have someone able and competent to step up and replace him, he has to find new blood.

Thus the story of two rookies, Neto (Caio Junqueira) and Andre Matias (Andre Ramiro), who are best of friends, but whose characters are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Neto's a hothead and acts on impulse, qualities not befitting of team players, but you cannot discount his courage. Andre's a lot more calculative and restraint, but in dwelling too much on decision making, might not be able to act decisively. These were the two options best left for Nascimento, given the rest are either corrupt or inept to have made it through the tough training.

Between Neto and Andre, the latter has a lot more pathos crafted into his character, such as his ambition in being a lawyer after his uniformed stint, and this character was also based loosely on the consultant for the movie. What I particularly liked his character was how he subconsciously turned into the stereotypical view the citizens have of the cops – of being violent, unreasonable and corrupt, that save for the latter, he unwittingly becomes transformed into that mold, a disillusioned turn against his idealistic viewpoint of what a cop stands for, of becoming one of many misunderstood, honest cops.

The BOPE are no angels, and are quite heavy handed in their ways, though one could also argue that extreme methods and operations are totally justifiable when in a "war zone" dealing with criminals armed to the teeth who have no hesitation to shoot first and to kill. Simon Yam might have left a memorable impression with his repetitive bitch slapping of a gangster at an arcade in PTU, but here, such slapping gets ten times worse with the hairdryer effect too. The BOPE officers knows no gentle negotiation techniques, with arsenals such as the use of deadly force, interrogation through the use of incessant slaps and the plastic bag for suffocation, and if the suspect still doesn't crack, there's still the good old broomstick shoved into the rear.

Action junkies would find that Elite Squad has no lack of set action pieces, though you might find yourself clamouring for more. These guys are highly trained and bears no qualms in exercising deadly force with no remorse, and when their skull end knives emblem comes rolling around, criminals flee in fear. Given that this is set in the gritty streets of Rio de Janeiro, the shaky cam seems impossible not to be utilized, so if you're those who feel nauseous at the erratic movement of the camera, you might want to take the necessary precautions.

For me, it's not often always to have a movie like this work on all fronts, from acting to action to a tightly designed and layered narrative. If I were to recommend a movie about cops, then Elite Squad would join the ranks of personal favourites like PTU and Heat. Highly recommended!
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9/10
The real face of violence
mausar1 May 2009
From Brazil with fury: Tropa de Elite shows us, with realistic violence, all the horrors of the drug war in Rio de Janeiro "favelas" (slums). Many other movies shows us the violence and crime of Brazil, first of all the pulp masterpiece "City of God". The same authors of that movie, in this case, explore the world of police. The movie is narrated by Capt. Do Nascimento, a real officer (with a fake name). He's an officer in the elite military police Corp, the Bope. A black uniform with a skull as its symbol (two elements that remind Fascism) to fight the crime. They don't make interrogations: they torture suspects to obtain informations. They don't arrest: they just have to kill. This Corp is employed for extreme emergency, in the most dangerous areas where the police is armless. 1997: before the visit of Pope John Paul II in Brazil, Bope is deployed in favelas, cleaning them from criminals. The violence of special forces is needed… if you want the Pope live and able to speak about peace and fraternity to Brazilian people. In that period, Do Nascimento explain us the career of two Bope's volunteers: agents Neto and Matias, from their beginning in the regular police to their initiation in Bope's parallel universe.

  • SPOILERS -


They can't make a career in the regular police because they are too honest to accept all the corruption and the compromises inside it's hierarchy. And so, they have to turn violent and enter the Bope to fight the crime seriously. This is a personal trail full of sacrifices. Neto loses his life in action. Do Nascimento destroys his family. Matias loses part of his humanity: his love affair, his promising career in law. Finally he loses his sense of pity. And he becomes a real war machine. Those sacrifices are inevitable in an uncompromising World in which you have only to choose between criminality and repression. Because all the other rings of the chain are corrupted. Intellectuals preaches theories against an abstract "repression" and they don't understand the crime. Social workers are compromised with criminals (violently punished by them if they don't obey) and they simply can't do the good for society. Regular police (the State) is itself corrupted by criminals. And then: only brute force (with all its horrors) can fight the crime. Tropa de Elite is not only a good movie about Brazil. Its message is universal. Those who repeat that "in real World white and black don't exist, there is only Grey" are wrong. Padilha show us how criminality oblige us to make a radical choice. A choice not easy, not at all.
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9/10
An excellent and intense film
Argemaluco5 April 2008
It's really weird to see a movie with an impact and an intensity as big as in Tropa de Elite.This is an excellent film.The film exposes a valid and important message and I admired the professionalism showed on a lot of scenes.It's a real pleasure to watch a professional movie.Director José Padilha made a perfect work.His direction is precise and he could extract very natural performances from all the actors,who do not seem to be acting.The only fail I found on this movie is the ending which is pretty abrupt.In spite of that,I recommend Tropa de Elite with a lot of enthusiasm for many reasons,specially for being a professional movie which is not something we see everyday.
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8/10
A must watch movie
Rizwan P25 November 2008
It is one of the great movies i have seen in the recent days, and i must add i am very lucky to see this movie.It is about the activities of the drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and how the police react to this. It shows the corruption within the police and why a special squad called BOPE was formed for stopping the violence in slums. I was astonished to see the corruption in the police and cannot imagine a situation without the BOPE.

The movie greatly portrays the activities of the BOPE which is highly strategical. I liked each and every frame of their activities especially the training of the new recruits, that shows why they are so tough.

Storyline is a narrative type narrated by Capitão Nascimento(Wagner Moura) who is the captain of the BOPE and a very good fighter and seeks a replacement. Wagner Moura did well in this movie.I liked the portrayal of the story which starts from the middle, go to the start and move on to the end of the movie.

One thing i cannot understand is that the BOPE just go and shoot or threaten to kill people and raid innocent peoples house without any law. They work independently, and it is portrayed in the movie that they can do whatever they want without any permission or laws. I don't think it is possible. But still i think we can justify their activities, because without such powers BOPE cannot fight against those heavily armed slums.

The camera and lighting's are very good.It gives a real effect to the movie.There are a few shot from the sky showing the slums which is excellent.

Anyway it is a must watch movie.You will surely enjoy this movie.If you have seen City Of God and liked it i am damn sure that you will really love this movie as i do.It is like City Of God taken from the other side(law enforcement side).You must really watch this movie, or else you are gonna miss something great.
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8/10
To Be a Cop in Rio de Janeiro
Eumenides_011 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Tropa de Elite is a fascinating counterpoint to Fernando Meirelles' City of God. Written by the same screenwriter, the Oscar-nominated Bráulio Mantovani, this movie shows the seedy side of Rio de Janeiro from the cops' point of view, particularly BOPE, an elite squad created to intervene when regular cops can't cut it. Basically trained soldiers acting as policemen, they're methodical and ruthless, but apparently also the only ones really committed to cleaning up the streets. The rest of the police force are jut happy taking bribes and helping criminals whenever they can.

The movie follows Captain Nascimento's search for a replacement. He's had too much, has a pregnant wife and the horrors of his work are making him crazy. Wagner Moura is a revelation here. The reach of his performance will probably be lost on non-Brazilian or non-Portuguese viewers who've never seen him on dreadful soap operas. One look at the hardened, melancholy, weary face of Nascimento and you'd never believe this actor plays romantic leads for a living. Nascimento is not a nice man, he doesn't like the choices he has to make to do his job.

So he finds a way out on two new recruits, Neto and Matias, two disillusioned regular cops wishing to have a more active role in fighting crime. Matias is a brilliant young man, studying to become a lawyer, whereas the thick-headed Neto has more guts and skills with a rifle than most people. Seeing the corruption within the department, they're quickly seduced by BOPE.

Although not as a graphic and technically impressive as City of God, this is still a pretty amazing movie. It's more conventional, more straightforward, but with a vision of Brazilian society as unflinching as Meirelles' masterpiece. The director, José Padilha, tackles touchy subjects here, from police corruption to police brutality to the role society has in funding drug business. It's an unpleasant movie, but most good movies tend to be.
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Shocking and Thought-Provoking, "Tropa de Elite" more than lives up to the hype
When the "favela reality" movies seem to be running out of 'ideas' - trying to profit by copying the acclaimed "City of God" over and over -, director José Padilha (of the equally engrossing documentary "Bus 174") brings us "Tropa de Elite" ("Elite Squad"), the most controversial Brazilian film in a long time, having sold millions of pirated DVD copies even before its theatrical release (and still managed to become the biggest Brazilian movie event of 2007).

"Elite Squad" shows the routine of a group of cops in Rio de Janeiro, and the inhumane training they have to go through in order to become a BOPE (Special Police Operation Battalion) captain, the policemen who are supposed to fight drug trafficking, in the rawest possible way. Wagner Moura ("God Is Brazilian"), one of the most versatile Brazilian actors of his generation, delivers a bravura performance as Captain Nascimento, who wants to quit his job in order to dedicate himself to his newly-born son, but has an important mission before that: finding the right replacement.

"Elite Squad" is not as stylized or visually compelling as Fernando Meirelles/Kátia Lund's "City of God" (the comparison is inevitable), but that's not a flaw. The movie is violent but realistic, far from sheer Hollywood gore-fest (i.e. Scorsese's over-hyped "The Departed"), and offers some extremely provocative discussions about Brazil's social chaos - and also a disarmingly blunt, love it or hate it narration. Surprise winner of the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival (competing with other strong titles, including Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant "There Will Be Blood"), "Elite Squad" is a must-see. 10/10.
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