City Of God is all too often cited as the Brazilian Goodfellas.
While it’s a fine comparison to have made towards the film – there’s far more to it than simply following in the footsteps of Scorsese’s classic. Yes, it has an epic narrative which spans multiple decades and charts the lives of a group of criminals – but Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 masterpiece has its own distinctions which make it culturally and thematically unique. Scorsese wouldn’t begin a movie with Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro chasing a fleeing chicken through the streets of New York.
It’s also significant that City Of God’s characters aren’t drawn to the glitz and glamour of criminality – instead drawn to the path as a way to break free from their oppressive and poverty stricken slum backgrounds. There’s true horror in the films portrayal of gang culture, with