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Review: City of God (2002)

Okay, I missed this one when it came and went in the theatres. I missed it when it first released on DVD. Even IMDb tried to tell me how great it was, but I wouldn't listen.

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 ★★★★★


Jan. 19th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
As a fan of Memento, you owe it to yourself to seek out Lee Chang-dong's Peppermint Candy at Scarecrow. I believe it came out the same year as Memento, which Nolan preceeded with the overlooked and structurally similar Following, which was even more interesting than Memento in some ways.

Lee is the director of Oasis, my favorite movie, and Green Fish, which I remember enjoying even more than Peppermint Candy, and which I discovered at Scarecrow and rented based on one of those cute little staff recommendation cards, which I didn't see so often in the past couple of years before I moved.

Eternal Sunshine is neck-and-neck with the soon-to-be-distributed Best of Youth for my favorite film of 2004.

And I waited far too long to see City of God, too. I think it was on its third visit to Seattle by the time I got to it. Powerful movie that I should own.

Yes, I am the tool of subordinate clauses today, which I don't understand one bit.

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