Reviewed by

Rob Vinson

City of God is a true story about a group of kids growing up in a very dangerous, hidden and neglected part of Rio de Janeiro.  In essence it's hell in the middle of paradise.  The story follows their lives over a span of about 15 years as they all take different and dangerous paths that sometimes intertwine throughout the movie.  The story is told by one of the boys Busca' Pe who, along his path, develops a love for photography.  Busca' Pe later uses photo journalism to uncover and display to the world the dangers of his community, many of which, his childhood friends are responsible for.  City of God has become one of my favorite films because the movie itself reveals this very dangerous and ugly world that exists in a place highly regarded for its beauty and tranquility.  The Director's style of shooting often fortifies the photo journalistic style as many of the scenes take place in a dark and gritty third world type settings and oft times resemble a war zone or refugee camp.  The environment and situations in the movie are very dangerous yet, in the middle of the chaos, there are moments of family life, friendship, celebration and love but they are almost always hand in hand with death.  This is one of the most powerful movies I've seen in a long time.  The special features are also powerful as the director takes you to the real City of God and interview's real residents.  This movie should be on everyone’s must see list.

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