Rio de Janeiro. September, 2008. Three men stalk the gloomy back-alleys of the city's notorious slums. Spiderman, a 28-year-old drug lord, embarks on a routine patrol through the shadowy ... See full summary »
Rio de Janeiro. September, 2008. Three men stalk the gloomy back-alleys of the city's notorious slums. Spiderman, a 28-year-old drug lord, embarks on a routine patrol through the shadowy streets of Coréia, the sprawling slum he controls. Inspector Leonardo Torres, a muscle-bound operative from Rio's drug squad, inches through the alleys of another shantytown, shots ringing out around him. And Pastor Dione, an evangelical preacher intent on ending Rio's drug conflict, trawls the slums for lost souls. With unprecedented access to some of Rio's most wanted men, Dancing with the Devil in the City of God tells the story of Rio's drug war through the eyes of three men locked into one of the bloodiest urban conflicts on earth. Written by
Jon Blair and Tom Phillips
The tragedy of Rio de Janeiro's favelas has been documented before; but rarely with such astonishing footage as is shown in 'Dancing With the Devil'. The grim truth - slums controlled by drug-dealing gangs, and a police force which, either through internal corruption, or simply through the fact that it possesses no monopoly of force, acts much like another gang - means the lives of the city's poorest inhabitants are often nasty, brutal and short. Jon Blair's film isn't bad, although it labours its point a little, and neither the drug lords we see interviewed (claiming to want a peaceful life, but making no steps to achieve it) nor the supposed hero, a somewhat egoistical preacher who seems a little too forgiving of the worst of the gangsters, make appealing subjects: Angus MacQueen's recent, masterful series for Channel 4, 'Cocaine', told a much more poignant story. But the ending is still terrible and compelling, as a thoughtful policeman reflects on the meaning of life and death, and we learn that time has run out for one of the film's principal criminal protagonists. And as in the fictional (but very real) 'The Wire' (David Simon's drama set in the drug gangs of north America), one is struck by how young all the leading dealers are; this is a young man's game, and there's no happy retirement when your time as boss is done.
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