City of God

Watch City of God

"If you run, the beast catches you; if you stay, the beast eats you."
  • R
  • 2002
  • 2 hr 10 min
  • 8.6  (801,066)
  • 79

City of God, released in 2002, is an electrifying Brazilian crime drama directed by Fernando Meirelles and co-directed by Kátia Lund. The movie is set in the sprawling favela (slum) of City of God, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is a concoction of poverty, violence, drugs, and gang warfare. The film portrays the story of the favela through the eyes of Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), a young man who is a photographer and aspires to someday escape the brutal cycle of crime and poverty he finds himself in. Gang wars between various groups, such as the Tender Trio, are commonplace in the favela, and Rocket's childhood friend Li'l Dice (Leandro Firmino) is a psychopathic gangster who dreams of dominating the drug trade in the city.

The movie presents a disturbing, yet captivating, glimpse into the lives of the people dubbed the "cursed generation" – teenagers for whom living in the favela means crime, drugs, and violence. The film also displays the unfaltering tenacity of the tenement dwellers and their ability to survive. The characters in the film represent an extraordinarily realistic depiction of the powerless and disenfranchised.

Director Fernando Meirelles blends together different elements of filmmaking to create his unique style in City of God. The film is heavily dependent on characters rather than a narrative structure that is structured for the viewers. The shots are primarily from a handheld point of view, giving the movie a semi-documentary feel that captures the gritty, chaotic, realism of the favela. The cinematography is particularly remarkable, with quick cuts, freeze frames, and stylized camera movements that provide the movie with fast pacing that reflects the constant state of distress among the characters.

The storytelling of City of God is particularly stylish, reverting back and forth through time, so the viewer must pay careful attention to follow the timeline. The film consists of lots of flashbacks and flash-forwards, each different part of the story centering on a specific episode in the City of God's history.

The cornerstone of City of God is the characters. They are diverse, contradictory, and often have different values from the rest of the world. All the characters in the film have soft spots and gentle dreams, even the most violent ones, and all of them face a constant struggle between hope and despair. Rocket is the clear main character in the film, but we also see other characters such as Li'l Dice, Knockout Ned, and Angelica, all captivating their own unique way.

The performances provided by the actors are outstanding, so much that many of the cast members went on to become successful actors in the years following the film's release. Alexandre Rodrigues portrays Rocket with a combination of aimlessness and ambition that captures the sense of being caught between worlds. Leandro Firmino gives an intense and magnetic performance portraying Li'l Dice as the villain who is savage and violent, armed only with his maddening desire for power.

City of God is not a movie for the faint of heart. It offers a brutal and gritty look at the poverty and violence that rules the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The film is an unflinching exploration of the social and economic struggle of the people who live there. It's a raw and miserable portrayal of a place where poverty, drugs, and violence are inescapable.

In conclusion, City of God is a must-watch for any cinephile or anyone interested in the negative effects of poverty on society. The movie does more than just depict violence: it humanizes all its characters, never reducing them to mere stereotypes, and their conflicts portray an authentic slice of a Brazil that the globalized world often chooses to ignore. The experience is unforgettable - the story, the characters, the cinematography, and the sheer visceral impact of the violence is unparalleled, deserving every inch of its well-earned reputation as one of the greatest foreign films ever released.

City of God is a 2002 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 10 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.6 and a MetaScore of 79.

City of God
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 10 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.6  (801,066)
  • Metascore