City of God is a beautifully gritty crime thriller that should not be missed, it is dark compelling and exciting to watch. It leaves the viewer satisfied yet wanting to see more of the lives of those living in the City of God.
By: Justin Dee
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — Fernando Meirelles’ and Kátia Lund’s 2002 film City of God chronicles the lives of young men as the grow up in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro Brazil during the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.
- Release Date: August 30, 2002
- Staring :Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Jonathan Haagensen, Matheus Nachtergaele and Seu Jorge
- Budget: $8.5 million
- Gross Revenue: $30,641,770
Centered around Rocket and Lil Ze, the film follows these y0ung men as they grown up in the slums of Rio and interact with their friends, enemies, and make the choices that will impact their lives forever, leading one to a life of crime and the other into the world of journalism.
Based on Paulo Lins 1997 autobiographical novel the film is a beautiful whirlwind of life, love, violence and death as experienced in the state formed suburb of Rio De , Brazil.
The City of God community was formed in 1960 in an attempt to removed shanty towns and the poor who inhabited them from the inner city by the state government of Guanabara, Brazil.
In his 2003 review Roger Ebert wrote that City of God shares comparison with Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
The film has been compared with Scorsese’s Goodfellas and it deserves the comparison. Scorsese’s film began with a narrator who said that for as long as he could remember he wanted to be a gangster. The narrator of this film seems to have had no other choice.
He also wrote that the film has some parallels to Scorsese’s Gangs of New York saying,
In both films, there are really two cities: the city of the employed and secure, who are served by law and municipal services, and the city of the castaways, whose alliances are born of opportunity and desperation. Those who live beneath rarely have their stories told.
UTC student Steven Read said, while very reminiscent of American gangster/ coming of age movies like Menace II Society and Goodfellas, (This film) setting in Brazil and it socio-economic conditions makes it something wholly original and slightly more disturbing.
The film’s ensemble cast churns out beautiful performances normally seen from seasoned actors. However the majority of the cast had never acted before this film and are in fact from the local area where the film was shot. One of the few seasoned actors in the film is Matheus Nachtergaele who portrays Carrot and although his character is important it is very minor compared to the other characters. The stand out performance is that Leandro Firmino in the role of Lil Ze.
Lil Ze is a violent, power hungry psychopath but Firmino’s performance allows the viewer to understand that all of the character’s hate and anger comes form a place of pain and survival.
City of God was nominated for four Academy Awards including best cinematography and it is very clear why. In one scene that depicts the death of a major character is as beautiful as it is sad.
The film was so successful the that it spawned a television series and a 2007 sequel that both share the title City of Men. The television series, which ran for four seasons from 2002 to 2005 in Brazil, was shown on the Sundance cable network here in the U.S.
City of God is currently available on DVD.