StormofCuteness’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whoa. Finally. I'm not sure why it took me so long to see this staggering achievement. My Master's thesis was partly about gang culture so its subject matter is something I've researched and care deeply about. I think it was because it came out the same year I decided to become a teacher in South LA. This reality for too many poor kids from the hood, as so explicitly portrayed and filmed here, is heartbreaking for me.
I find it devastating to learn that the female co-director, Katia Lund, for a variety of awful reasons, was not nominated for best director alongside Fernando Mierelles, resulting (of course) in her not getting the Hollywood offers or career he would go on to have.
Together, they shined a light on the effects of systemic poverty and the reasons that gang culture (and violence) flourish within it. The opening and closing sequences are just knock-out filmmaking on every level.