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The pace is quick, the violence is rough, and the visual style is documentary as Padilha hammers home his point: Someone is forever in the pocket of someone else as The System constantly adapts to protect itself.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is pure pedagogic bliss.
A marked improvement on the first film, it's easy to see why this was such a smash in Brazil. Breathless, brutal and thrilling, it's a gut punch of an action movie.
Both responding to and rebutting critics who dubbed its predecessor fascist, José Padilha's superior sequel to 2007's "Elite Squad" doubles down on the kill-'em-all rhetoric while placing its trigger-happy heroes in a larger context.
A crackling musical score and eye-popping cinematography add to the nonstop ferocity, and Wagner Moura is charismatic as the head of the titular police unit.
Here's a Brazilian thriller that's so angry and specifically political, it's hard to believe they got away with making it.
Propulsive, hyper-violent and ridiculously exciting, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within can be described as "The Wire" transplanted to Rio de Janeiro.
Padilha's film offers no easy answers, but the title is a tip off as to where at least his sympathies lie.
Almost everyone is scum. The venality spreads from the slums or favelas, up the ranks of local militias, crooked police and pandering politicians.
The movie's intensity is given crucial depth via Moura's somber and unshowy performance.
The rest is an adrenaline ride, but one more wearying than eye-opening.

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