City of God

City of God

“City of God” follows different individuals from the slums of Rio de Janeiro, observing their difficulties, challenges, and transformations. The Brazilian movie delivers important social messages, showing how poverty and criminality really work in developing countries around the globe, and how its individuals chose their life path within these communities. Considered as one of the bests of its genre and time, “City of God” is definitely not an easy ride, but one to be remembered.

Pedro Moreira’s Review:

“City of God” can be considered by many the best Brazilian movie of all time, but I think it deserves much more than that. Directed by Fernando Meirelles, “City of God” is a masterpiece of a film, having all of its details contributing to telling the tense stories of characters in Rio’s favelas. The movie can be considered from a drama to a romance, suspense, thriller, and even biography. With many different elements and genres, including romance, thriller, and biographical drama, it is very easy for a director to lose track of his work and conclude the piece with many loose ends, however, Meirelles does the complete opposite. He uses every detail of every character, moment, setting, and the soundtrack to deliver one of the most complex and competent movies of all time. From the start to end, the Brazilian director has complete control of what he is doing, grabbing the audience’s attention at every moment. Additionally, the movie doesn’t only focus on a plot, but risks its reputation to approach crucial social issues involving drugs, criminality, revenge, youth, and ambition. You’ll probably spend a couple of days trying to reflect everything you have just seen. On the more technical side, I have no words. The soundtrack and cinematography are amazing, setting a great mood for the film, characterizing time periods and the whole city and its slums perfectly for the tone of the movie. The acting is also one of the biggest highlights, showing reality as it has never been seen before. The editing is superb, giving originality and emotion to the whole story (check out the opening chicken scene). This movie is not an easy ride, blood-filled gang fights and all, but its strong emotions and unforgettable dialogues are definitely worth watching for every movie lover. Because it is a non-English movie, many watchers might avoid it due to subtitles, but if you truly love a good story, please don’t let such a detail ruin your experience – just read the subtitles, as the rest of the world does for all the Hollywood productions. I could spend hours talking about how brilliant “City of God” is and how it has impacted me, but I can only describe such a masterpiece with one word – PERFECT.

Rating: 5 / 5

Mateo Gibson’s Review: 

My opinion on this movie is somewhat conflicted. On one hand, I was constantly entertained. At first glance, this movie is really fun, but after pondering about it, this film wasn’t really “impeccable”. My main complaint is the lack of focus. With so many characters, flashbacks, experimental shot compositions, and such a chaotic soundtrack, the whole movie became a blur for me. Characters were dying and appearing left and right, details were revealed and then forgotten about and, most confusingly, the concept of death was never treated consistently. Certain primary characters that had massive growth and impact throughout the film were killed off and simply forgotten about whilst tertiary (not even secondary) characters were killed and then given a montage of how high their IQ was. Despite all these complaints, I still left the movie with a heartfelt grin. I could tell that this rollercoaster ride was made with immense passion, and despite feeling sick to the stomach after being dropped off, I can conclude that the journey was worth the ride. 

3.5/5 stars 

James Blair’s Review:

The City of God is a Brazilian film that takes place in the religious yet impoverished city of Rio de Janeiro. It follows a boy named Rocket at different stages of his life, from when he is a young boy who doesn’t follow the norm of being a “Hoodlum”, to when he becomes an aspiring photographer as a young adult. Unlike many other films, this film does not have an explicit conflict, it is structured similarly to a documentary, only it is fictional. It simply follows Rocket throughout his journey and how he perceives all of the violence and criminal activity that is frequent in the City of God. I enjoyed watching this film, despite it being in Portuguese and it being difficult to follow the subtitles. I thought it was interesting to see a different outlook on Rio, seeing what really happens behind the glamour of the touristy Rio we all know. It was quite slow at times, but was very interesting and engaging for the most part. 

Rating: 3.5/5 

Anonymous Review: 

City of God is a Brazilian movie that addresses many of the modern social problems afflicting developing countries such as Brazil. Problems such as drug commerce and violence. It is the story of Rocket, a kid born in the “City of God” favela who through journalism tries to evade the cruel reality which he lives in. It is a very violent movie which might not be for everybody. It features very unique characters and possibly one of the best villains ever. The movie, however, is in Portuguese and therefore can only be seen with subtitles which made it harder to follow the story as it is fairly fast-paced. Overall I believe it was a great movie with an interesting story.

Rating: 4/5

Frederick Mangold’s Review:

At the beginning I was skeptical about the concept; especially because of all the violence I’ve heard of about this movie. But “City of God” was an interesting film which was highlighted by the suspense and the admirable scenes. The film clearly conveys the feeling of the favelas to the viewer and addresses social problems. Even though the film wasn’t bad, it still couldn’t grab me. Constant violence is an essential part of the film but was rather tiring for me over time.

Rating: 2.5/5

Average Rating:

3.75 / 5.0

Nos do Cinema group posing for a picture by the end of the shooting of the film The Blind, the Devil and the Good Jesus. Favela da Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – January 2003

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