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Movie Review: City of God

Source: listal.com via Sérgio on Pinterest

Once or twice a year, a friend of ours offers a film class at our church, Grace Chapel. This recent 12 week look at culture and cinema class was over the topic War. In this time we watched a lot of different movies about different types of war (drug, racism, etc.) along with movies about WWI , WWII and the Holocaust. The movie review I will be doing today was from this class, and it's called City of God. This movie was a recent film from Brazil and it has won many awards. It's a very, very hard movie to watch, and if you try to stay away from violence, I do not recommend this movie as it's rife.

The movie starts out at the end, and it becomes a flashback within the first ten minutes. The story is about a boy, Rocket,  whose older brother is involved in a gang where they live, the slum called City of God, in Rio de Janerio. Through Rocket's life he must choose whether he will follow in the footsteps of many of the boys--the gang life-- or get out of the slum and use his skill and desire to become a photographer, for the better.

The story takes the audience through a time span of at least a decade, and through violence, corruption, and drugs a new leader--one who is closer to Rocket than he is comfortable with--becomes the celebrity figure in City of God. The story continues with a couple of love stories on the side, confusion, cops, drug busts, and ultimately the fate of the slum, and the fate of the gangs as drug lords.

This movie is extremely hard to watch because of it's violent nature, and because there are children involved; as victims and as murderers. This film is a wide angle look at how gangs and drugs rule nations they trafficked in, and how that effects the culture. How can anyone get out of that life when, as children, corrupt is the new cool, respected, and coveted power position among the adults that live there? This movie is rated R for violence, sexual content, and drug use. Caution and discretion should be taken into account, though I think this could be a powerful movie if watched and discussed with an older teenager. As a true story, this film has one of the best endings I've seen yet. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars for everything movies do well: dialogue, story, acting, and cinematography.

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