Renavan’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Why return to the City of God, where God forgets about you?"
In the 2 hour run of this movie, I felt like I experienced a lot more than that. City of God presented a tale with so many facets, I felt like I had just watched a miniseries, and a very satisfying one.
A tale of the hardship and the hustle at the very bottom tier of life in Brazil, this movie brings not only a rich take on life in that segment of the population, but a real and enthralling one. One of the things that stands out most to me with the writing in this, is that it would have been so easy to obsess over the rich dramatic potential, but the plot manages to infuse a few comedic elements which provide appreciated respite from the intensity that can wash over the movie. There are moments to have you on the edge of your seat, and others to have you smiling at how life might not be so bad to those down there.
The performances in this were excellent from absolutely everyone, and with the number of child actors involved, it's highly impressive to see such high end dramatic result from them all. The scene where young Li'l Dice is in the motel is enough screentime to recognize that acting in the movie is quality.
The technical aspects of the movie shouldn't be ignored as well. The handheld camera takes are able to capture the frenetic energy of the scenes in the favelas, and the effect does well to almost immerse into those scenes.
City of God is a long winding tale that seems to spend more time than it actually does, but in a good way. It goes a long way from start to end, but you'll enjoy every single second that it does. This is a brilliant movie, undoubtedly.