DVD Review: “City of God” Everyone Who Died Deserved to Die


Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Thriller and Crime/Gangster
Running Time:
2 hrs. 13 min.
Release Date:
January 17th, 2003 (LA/NY)
MPAA Rating:
R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, drug content and language.
Distributors: Miramax Films

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund

JJ Rating: D-

I have a gun. You will listen to me who has the gun. I have the gun and that means I’m in power. Shut up I have the gun give me your drug business and allow me to be a hypocrite, thank you. City of God.

Let me state that all the actors in this film were very good. I don’t want to get into specifics because the movie is not worth it but I’ll list all the good actors in no particular order: (and if you can pronounce them, good job) Alexandre Rodrigues (easy), Leandro Firmino De Hora Phellipe, Seu Jorge, Jonathan Haagensen, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phelipe Haagensen and Douglas Silva. They all did a fantastic job acting because I hated every single one of their characters. There was not a single one that I thought was a worthy person, or character, to live.

The cinematography was awesome. I think the camera work was great, panning this way or that, or pulling back and allowing a full view of the action. They did a great job on that.

I have scanned some reviews for this movie when it came out in 2003 and I have to say they are all saying how great it was because it’s so true to life, as if they ever went to Brazil and witnessed this life? I don’t know what kind of story they wanted to tell but what I got was that these kids had guns and they shoot anyone, no matter if they are four years old, just to get what they want. There were NO good guys in this film. Not even the main character was a good guy. They tried to spin it so it seemed like he was, but he was just as bad as everyone else he just wasn’t with a gang. If he were so good he wouldn’t be rolling with such people; ever. So he felt the need to roll with them because of what he could get from being with them and when things go sour he pretends he is innocent when he’s not.

There was one interesting scene that sort of made the movie worth watching and that was when Li’l Ze caught these kids he told not to rob in his section. He shoots them. I’m not going to say they die or if they live but he shoots them. By the time you get to this part of the movie you’ll know that he is capable of doing that without blinking or regretting.

City of God’s story was just awful. Just because something happened doesn’t mean it’ll make a great film. And just because it’s based on a true story doesn’t mean it needs to be seen. I had to push myself to watch the rest of it because I just wanted to turn it off. I thought that maybe something redeemable would pop up on the screen, something that would make it worth watching for as long as I had; but no, that did not happen.

Children shooting children, if that is appealing then you should see this movie. If it’s appealing that the movie is based on a true story so that you can mask your no I don’t like seeing kids shoot kids thinking then this is a movie for you. If it disturbs you that children shoot people in cold blood and laugh then this movie is so not for you no matter how much of it really happened.

City of God is one of those movies that I just will not understand why someone would want to share such a waste of space group of people. None of the characters, or people since they are based on reality, tried to better their lives. They just were greedy and hollow. I wouldn’t understand someone finding this as their favorite movie. I would have enjoyed the film more if these people had a human soul or human feel to them, but they seemed so mechanical and cardboard. I don’t know how to explain that I do believe they acted well but what was presented was just lifeless.

City of God is not a movie I want. I will never see it again and I don’t recommend it, though it was loved by the critics and others. Everyone who died in this film deserved to die and everyone who did not die did not really deserve to live. No one cared enough about their life to actually live it to the fullest instead of live it in fear. I don’t feel bad for not caring that they died since the movie makers didn’t care to have characters that worth caring about.


Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood said...

Whoa there on your D rating!

City of God is an incredible film!!! I give it an A: the filming style, the important story of really messed up stuff that happens in the world, amazing acting, fantastic color, sound, and music. Yeah, the violence is unbearable, but it is a real problem and has nothing to do with the superb quality of the film.

J_Jammer said...

Just because it's based on reality doesn't mean it is. There are a lot of movies that are based on reality that are either softer than it is or more drastic than it is. This may be on spot---but in no way means it should be created into a movie.

None of the characters had any worth or should anyone care about them quality. Movies have to inflect care upon the viewer and if it doesn't then it really isn't worth being made.

Your parents can sit there and tell you how the world is but if they yell at you and such you won't listen. I gathered nothing worthy other than how horrible and stupid that part of Africa is. If there was a lesson to learn it was not apparent.

As for what you mentioned---let's just say if you go to a restaurant and the atmosphere is great. The wait staff is great. The decor is great, but when you get the food it taste like crap you will very well forget all the great and tell everyone how horrible it is.

That's the same with the movie---everything that was great was shot to hell because of how the subject matter was handled and the characters were portrayed.

Ever read Clockwork Orange? It was written with pretty words that distorted the amount of violence that was happening. It is probably one of the most violent books ever written but because of the word choices it doesn't read as such. They could have made this movie more enjoyable while at the same time deliver what it is they wanted to deliver. Instead they wanted to be shocking and in that they sacrificed greatness.

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