Ayden The NinjaPirateBear’s review published on Letterboxd:
Features in lists:
Non-2018 First Time Watches Ranked
"A kid? I smoke, I snort. I've killed and robbed. I'm a man."
City of God is a gritty, hard-to-watch, realistic view of the slums of Brazil. That word, realistic, really stuck out to me watching this one. This was very authentic. I mean, obviously I haven't lived in Brazilian slums before but it FELT real. There were times when I felt like I was watching a documentary, that's how authentic this felt.
I'm always drawn into these 'hood' films; Menace II Society, Boyz N The Hood, Friday etc. and this was no different. The acting performances, considering most of the cast either hadn't acted before or had done minimal acting work, were remarkable. Truly, all of the main actors were outstanding, specifically Rocket and Li'l Ze, but all of the other actors pulled their weight as well.
The camera work was fantastic and probably went a long way to helping the authenticity, with the handheld camerawork being utilised perfectly. The cinematography was also amazing and while I wouldn't say the film looked beautiful, due to the setting, there are still some truly magnificent shots here.
Overall, don't let the fact that the film is subtitled put you off watching like it did me. This is easily one of the best dramas I've ever seen and for "hood films" it's on par with Menace and Boyz. I'm fairly confident that upon a rewatch, this will enter my Top 100 all time films