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Running Time:
130 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for strong brutal violence, sexuality, drug content and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This film is so mean and ugly that you'll want to cover your eyes, but it's so good you won't be able to.

City of God
The film takes place entirely in one of these modern suburbs that the Brazilian government built in the sixties to house poor or homeless people. It follows a bunch of kids who live in an area where street gangs control the neighborhoods, and the kids become involved very early on in this whirlwind of violence. It follows mainly two of these kids, one who's shy and wants to become a photographer, and the other who's violent and wants to become King of the streets.

It's a breathtaking, ferocious, and occasionally terrifying drama that's been compared to Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, and the comparison is correct. These young men thrive only when they join a gang, so that's the obvious choice for Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues). With poverty undermining most of the slum's families, the gangs offer structure and community. While Rocket and his friends are certainly criminals, they're not very wealthy, because their activities are limited to the "City of God," whose inhabitants don't have much money. Living lives of violence and desperation, the gang members don't expect to reach a ripe old age -- a perfectly understandable feeling, given the savagery and suddenness of their clashes with rivals. Fernando Meirelles (whose direction earned an Oscar nomination) and his co-director, Katia Lund, employ jerky shots taken with handheld cameras and rapid cutting to give the film a jagged sense of urgency. In this city, danger lurks around every corner, and only the quick of mind and fleet of foot can expect to survive. This urban wasteland seems Dickensian, and the supporting characters are invested with colorful personalities. Brazil's president called City of God a necessary wake-up call, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for four Oscars -- in addition to the director, the film’s cinematography, screenplay, and editing were also nominated. The movie doesn't romanticize, exploit, or condescend, as some gangster films do, yet it is every bit as riveting and memorable as many of the classic films of yesteryear.

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