Uncategorized | March 12, 2004

Recently I saw “City of God,” a movie based on an autobiographical novel about life on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. After reading the pitch (younger, smarter brother of a teenage gang member uses his imagination and love for photography to escape his treacherous slum), I expected something along the lines of “The Outsiders,” but instead found a violence-filled movie that more closely resembled “Scarface.” The story began when the narrator was a child and traced the rise and fall of various criminals in the city, showing how innocent bystanders were sucked into what eventually became an all-out war between two factions in the city. However, “City of God” focused more on the characters, creating understanding and, in some cases, sympathy. In addition, the narrative voice was a reliable guide through the tangled lives of the crime world portrayed by this movie.

Despite being subtitled, it was easy to follow and drew me in quickly. After seeing it, I understand why it received four Academy Award nominations. Although some people veer away from lesser known films that never hit the big screen, “City of God” is definitely worth taking a chance on.