After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.
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Sandro do Nascimento,
Luiz Eduardo Soares
The life and times of Cazuza, Brazilian singer/poet/enfant terrible, from his start with rock group "Barão Vermelho", to his death from Aids, in 1990, showing his career, love affairs, and involvement with drugs.
Daniel de Oliveira,
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In 1997, before the visit of the pope to Rio de Janeiro, Captain Nascimento from 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 and Matias join the Military Police force expecting to become honest policemen and fight the criminals. However, they see only corruption, lack of competence 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 jeopardizes ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
...Brilliantly fleshed out characters lifts the film from being trite after the 1000th gunshot.
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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