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For me this was not a perfect movie but it still was a very good one!

For some reason this movie really gave me a sort of "Goodfellas" type of vibe. Both movies are of course crime movies and both movies pretty much chronicle the life of a young, wannabe(es) gangster(s). I'm not saying that movies are also the same in style and story though, since this really isn't the case. "Cidade de Deus" is an original movie on its own and is taking its own approach on the genre.

It's a movie that on the one hand is showing how cool the life of a gangster is, while at the same time its throwing in some pretty heavy and dramatic stuff as well. Because of its sort of lighthearted approach, the more heavy scenes make an all the more greater impact. I think this is why the movie and all of emotions and drama work out so well.

The movie also really doesn't picks sides or condemns anyone. It just shows things how they are and how much more easy it is to make a living as a criminal, as opposed to by going to school and try to make an honest living, in the Brazilian suburbs. It's also not trying to look for any answers or solutions, it's simply showing the craziness and hopelessness of the whole situations as it was and still mostly is at some places, not only in Brazil of course.

It's a pretty raw and straightforward movie, mostly with its violence, starring also mostly young non-professionals in it, which adds to its overall realism. Also the story feels like just a couple of random pages out of the lives of some Brazilian youngsters, each trying to make it in their own way. But this at the same time is also a bit of a complaint I have about this movie. I would had preferred some more focus at times and that the movie featured a better- or at least more clear, main plot line in it. It now feels a bit like a fragmentary movie instead, also because it's following multiple different characters at the same time. Perhaps one main character, which the movie could focus solely on, would had been a better choice.

But obviously it didn't bothered me all that much, since I still really 'liked' watching this film. This was also really thanks to the way it got directed. It has a great style to it, which is often fast and adds both to the craziness and realism of the movie at times. It besides also makes the movie unique and 'pleasant' to watch, since it's also giving the movie a lot of pace.

So while not perfect, it still is a really great and quite effective movie!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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