“L’il Ze, the most ruthless of the leaders, had a murderous streak even as a young child. His partner, Benny (Philippe Haagensen), goes along but appears to value honour and hip-ness over violence. Meanwhile, Rocket tries to begin a life of crime after being frustrated with earning money at legitimate jobs, but finds he just doesn’t have it in him. One last major character’s lust for vengeance eventually overpowers his sense of decency.” (Harazim, 1997)
It all implies that the evils of society are best remedied not with blanket policies but rather with “case-by-case strategies” – a few of these hoods could be reformed, a few others may not be quite and the rest don’t actually need to be. In the meanwhile, the audiences are invited to regard the whole culture of gangsters with poignancy and trepidation. By the time the movie comes to a close some time in the early 1980’s, the viewers are shown images of a new generation of young kids with guns in hand; continuing the legacy of their yesteryear brothers. It is a pity that these sorts of stories are so easy to find and film. But, as an agent of social progress and as an aid to policy makers for closing the gap between the haves and have-nots, the film is a disappointment. To the contrary, the culture of violence, anarchy and wild ambition gets undeserved screen-time.
Harazim, D. (Nov 1997). The novelist of the ‘Favela.’,. World Press Review, 44, n11. p.29(1).
City of God. (August 7, 2006)., Publishers Weekly, 253, 31. p.29(2).
Margolis, M. (March 1, 2004). Fernando Meirelles; The Brazilian Blockbuster. Newsweek International, p.52.
The city of God, or someone. (Sept 28, 1996). The Economist (US), 340, n7985. p.56(1).
City of God and gripes; Violence in Brazil, (Jan 25, 2003)., The Economist (US), 366, 8308. p.NA.
Corliss, R. (Jan 20, 2003). Gangs of Rio de Janeiro: Kid killers on the loose in the blistering City of God, Time, 161, 3. p.140.
Fawcett, M. (Jan 17, 2003)., City of God., TLS Times Literary Supplement, 5207. p.18-1.
Kavanagh, P (Jan 4, 2002)., Bywords., TLS Times Literary Supplement, 5153. p.14(1).
Schwarz, R. (Nov-Dec 2001)., City of God., New Left Review, 12. p.102(11).