This exaggerated depiction of Rio De Janeiro leaves a gash in emotions, and electrifies the viewer one scene after the next.
This is not a story about the city of Rio De Janeiro, the City Of God. It’s the story of the rise and fall of criminals within them, and of other civilian characters affected from their crimes; and like all great stories told through film, it will take control of you. However one feels about it, positive or negative, if they watch it start to finish, they will be affected.
Nas said, “I’m thinking crime, when I’m in a New York state-of-mind”. Just change New York to Rio, and that’s how these criminals think. Monstrosities ranging from rape, robbery, and torture, there is nothing these men and kids won’t do in this law-less God-less environment; although most crimes are centered around drugs. Some of them desire the straight life, but let their actions show otherwise. Others are evil and maliciously run the entire city. That specifically is the nature of Lil Ze’.
Lil Ze’ becomes the drug lord of the city and he is the heartless apathetic native who desires nothing but being the kingpin. His presence crosses paths with all the other stories: Benny’s, the trio, Rocket’s, etc.
Knives being sharpened to kill chicken at the beginning, bullets ricocheting off stuff to kill one of the trio, and the 360 gun scene between the cops and the cons, show film shooting at its finest. The strobe light death combined with Lil Ze’s primal screams and gunshots being fired is a landmark scene.
The acting is phenomenal in this film but nobody in particular stands out, it’s just excellent from all parties. The director is in a league of his own, and for this film alone, is up there with the best of them. He shoots the film with such graininess and grittiness and from angles that are just incredible. Excellent cinematography compliments the film.
Much death, crime and disturbing imagery are within this masterpiece. The way it is shot, the stories it tells, how it plays with your emotions, the funky soundtrack, the humanity within the inhumanity of these characters and its depiction of the drug world make this a masterful film. It has such intensity and detail. It can be found in TIME magazines Top 100 Films Of All Time. City Of God is the new millennium’s colossus of cinema.
Rocket takes enough pictures to separate himself from the corruption. He always aspired to be a photographer, and the war on drugs between Carrot and Little Ze sets the stage for him. His pictures save his fate and lead him to a safer metropolitan lifestyle.
Did he abandon the City Of God, or did the City Of God abandon him? Either way, the war waged on.