I'm here to tell you, this film is the best thing I've seen in the last 12 months, hands down. It also makes the list of top 3 films I've seen in the last five years. City of God is a story of two boys growing up in the favela, the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and the choices they make, the struggle to just get by, their hopes. It's not always pretty, but the occasional violence and street images all serve the story. The cinematography is smooth, and will leave you wrung out from sweating through a dusty Rio summer, and soaking up the sun on Rio beaches.
It's what The Harder They Come might have been with better actors and photography, or what Gangs of New York might have been without the pretention, Hollywood egos, and ham-fisted story-line. It doesn't glorify gangs, or poverty, and yet it makes its characters shine. They earn their triumphs; their failures are crushing.
I can't possibly do it justice. If you haven't already, rent it, buy it, borrow it, but see it.
City of God ★★★★★