CITY OF GOD
Chronicling the Breakdown of Civilization
Release Date: January 17, 2003
Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro
Firminode Hora, Phellipe
Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Alice
Braga, Jonathan Haagensen, and
Genre: Thriller/Gangster Movie
Runtime: 130 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Buena Vista
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Producer: Andrea Barata Ribeiro and
Mauricio Andrade Ramos
Writer: Braulio Mantovani
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 & (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
CITY OF GOD is a new Brazilian movie that tells how this housing project became one of the world’s most notorious slums. It tells the story through the eyes of Rocket. At age 11 and 12 in the late 1960s, Rocket grows up observing the exploits of “the Tender Trio” – a gang of three older, small-time hoodlums that includes Rocket’s brother, Goose. Another boy Rocket’s age, Lil Dice, moves into the neighborhood. Lil Dice dreams of becoming the biggest gangster of all. His wicked nature becomes evident early in life when the Tender Trio, unknown to them, gives Lil Dice the chance to kill several people for the very first time, all at once.
Rocket grows up as a teenager, developing a fascination for photography and a lust for a beautiful girl named Angelica. Lil Dice, with help from his friend Benny and a demonic witch doctor, becomes the most feared and respected drug dealer in the City of God. His word becomes law, and peace is established for a time in the slums. Angelica turns to Benny instead of Rocket after Rocket lets a gang of thieving children harass him. Benny keeps trying to calm Lil Dice’s bloodlust, but Lil Dice still wants to kill people who irk him, especially his rival, a lesser drug dealer named Carrot.
One night Lil Dice, who can’t get a woman despite his power, gets jealous of a handsome bus-fare collector named Knockout Ned. He beats up Ned and rapes Ned’s girlfriend. When Ned tries to fight back, Lil Dice kills Ned’s brother and uncle, but misses Ned. Ned, who’s a dead shot because of a stint in the army, joins Carrot’s gang. A brutal gang war, including young boys with guns, engulfs the City of God. Rocket chronicles the final mayhem with a news camera that he’s gotten from working on a city newspaper in Rio.
CITY OF GOD the movie is a brutal representation of the evil and violence that engulfed the most notorious slum in South America. It clearly shows the kind of rampant sinfulness that breaks out when there is a complete breakdown of civilization. Even the youngest children can become monsters, the movie’s final shots cry out.
CITY OF GOD contains numerous references to the vestiges of Christian belief within the slum, but Christianity offers hope for only one minor character in the story. The movie also treats marijuana use as a harmless habit, says nothing about Rocket’s immoral desire to lose his virginity through premarital sex and says that the urban police force in Brazil is almost totally corrupt. Finally, CITY OF GOD contains an excessive amount of foul language and brutal gang violence, though the violence is not gory. Ultimately, the filmmakers are happy with just chronicling the disease that took control of this slum, not in offering any positive solutions. This seems true even though Rocket, the protagonist in the story, gets out of the violent slums by eventually finding a good paying profession.
Of course, the real answer to all sin is a loving, committed faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The salvation of Jesus Christ is offered to everyone, but it’s no good if you don’t take the free gift which God offers to you.
CITY OF GOD is a brutal representation of the evil and violence that engulfed the most notorious slum in South America. It clearly shows the rampant sinfulness that occurs when there is a complete breakdown of civilization. CITY OF GOD contains numerous references to the vestiges of Christian belief within the slum, but Christianity offers hope for only one minor character. The movie also contains an excessive amount of strong foul language and brutal gang violence. Ultimately, the filmmakers are happy with just chronicling the disease that took control of this slum, not in offering any positive solutions