City of God (Cidade de Deus) review
Daniel Corleone - wrote on 09/14/11
My second viewing of the film convinced me to rate it fairly. The journey of Rocket (Buscapé) which starts from the 60’s in City of God (Cidade de Deus). He mentions the story of "Tender Trio" – Shaggy, Clipper, and Goose. Li'l Dice (Dadinho) tags along with the Tender Trio and was able to handle a gun during a robbery in a motel. Benny (Bené), and Li'l Dice teamed-up in dealing marijuana. In the 70's, Li’l Dice transforms into "Li'l Zé" ("Zé Pequeno"), a greedy, selfless entity who enjoys power. Benny becomes the coolest hood in the city since he ensures everybody is happy and that no violence is practiced. Sandro, nicknamed Cenoura ("Carrot") is also a dealer of marijuana and is befriended by Knockout Ned because of the malicious acts of "Li'l Zé" towards his girlfriend, uncle and young brother. Thiago, a staff of Ze recommends Rocket to utilize the camera to take their gang’s picture. After Ze’s humiliation and money stolen from the police, "The Runts" get back at him for killing one of their friends. Rocket eventually becomes a reporter and would have the capacity to take pictures of the gang wars and those involved.
The manner in which the film was shot was exceptional, shot pretty much like Traffic. Marvelous character build-up and inside stories of background figures. The cut scenes, close-ups of the drop of water from a leaf, gestures and violence were implemented in good taste. Its soundtrack and cinematography depicted the mood of each scene and the wonderful performances all around. You really felt you were in the movie, and watching it for the second time just makes you reflect more and enjoy minor details instilled on the picture that makes it great.
The themes of violence of youth, choosing your path, morale values and pursuing your dreams (as Rocket did in becoming a photographer) were exhibited. Some humor was also present and wonderful colors from the wardrobe and settings. The special documentary feature on the DVD was insightful and entertaining as well. In the words of our protagonist – “You need more than guns to be a good gangster, you need ideas.” City of God is a well-crafted idea that was executed masterfully and with so much gusto. I feel this will be a future cult classic and is one of the best "true to life" movies produced that shows the realism of a certain location that breeds gangsters at such a tender age.