The City of God Movie Review

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Adam Theis
World Civ2
Movie Review
The City of God
The movie The City of God, which was produced by Fernando Meirelles, was a very different film compared to any other that I have seen. The movie takes place during the 1960’s and 70’s in Brazil. This was an extremely harsh and violent time and is still as bad today. To understand the movie, something to know is there are mainly two types of people in this movie, hoods and people that aren’t hoods. Hood was a word used to describe what in today’s world would be called a gangster or thug. The movie introduces a few of the characters and whose eyes the movie will be seen through, which is Rocket. Rocket was the brother of a popular hood and never becomes a hood at any time because it never appealed to him to do so. Rocket’s brother and the other hoods were looked up too by some of the younger kids but feared by most people. Doing hold-ups to get money, selling and doing drugs and running from the cops was the everyday life of being a hood. There was one young kid who wanted nothing but to be a hood and eventually he would be more than that. After helping out the older hoods with holding up a motel, this kid who eventually would be known as Lil Ze’ begins his journey to becoming the most respected and feared hood in the City of God. As the years went by Lil Ze’ killed and killed until he started obtaining some power. As this was happening Rocket shared his interests and explained the view of how Lil Ze’ was taking over from the perspective of everyone else and not from Lil Ze’ and his clan. Once Lil Ze’ had taken over the drug business from a hood he used to be under, he took absolute control of the City of God. He had ten-year-old kids being lookouts and working their way up to being dealers and then possible management. He didn’t have to ask people to join because so many people asked him if they could join. There was one other big dealer and hood that Lil Ze’ wanted to take out and that was Carrot. When Benny was killed, which was the best friend of Lil Ze’, the City of God was in war. Murdering and violence filled the streets at all hours and both Carrot and Lil Ze’ were growing their armies. Rocket had become a photographer, which was his dream and he was the only person who could get to Lil Ze’ and capture pictures, which both the newspaper and Lil Ze’ wanted to publish. Kids were given guns and were killing and so with a war like this it was only a matter of time before Lil Ze’ would be dethroned from running the City of God. This film portrays violence in multiple ways, also where people belong in society and it relates being on top with being a criminal.

The movie both glamorizes violence and uses it to produce empathy for viewers. The violence is mostly glamorized because the movie only really shows what is achieved from the violence and not what consequences it causes. There are many scenes where Lil Ze’ is laughing and enjoying murdering people and he does not even have a reason. The movie is based off violence and a lot of that is because that is what was happening in the City of God. However, I think the movie could have taken the spotlight off all the killing and making it seem as though murdering was the cool thing to do. Even when the movie wasn’t focused on the hoods and was focused on Rocket being a photographer there was violence involved because they wanted him to capture photos of the violence and the hoods. Although the violence I thought was mainly glamorized there were a few instances when violence produced empathy. When Lil Ze’ made a kid shoot another kid that evoked empathy because the scene captured for the first time, somebody who was hesitant to pull a trigger and shoot another person. Another scene that produced empathy for me was when Benny was shot. Lil Ze’ was screaming and crying because of this loss and I think the movie tried to show him realizing that the violence and murdering can get to him and affect him, that he wasn’t...
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