41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
More than a regular movie, "Cidade de Deus" is an experiment in filmmaking. With only one or two exceptions, all the actors were residents of the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of the same name of the movie. They were all exhaustingly auditioned and trained to participate on the movie with the best and greatest authenticity they could manage. That's what make "Cidade de Deus" so unique. It's an authentic movie, with an authentic story and authentic characters.
The story is about the people of "Cidade de Deus", a poor neighborhood built far from the ellegant and glamourous center of Rio de Janeiro of the sixties, built for and by poor families who were later to live there. Of course, during the next decades, The city of Rio de Janeiro englobed Cidade de Deus, and suddenly the poor families were not so far away from the rich zones of the town. Through the years, we follow the life story of some local kids, from utter poverty to immense richness from the traffic of narcotics. We also follow their own destruction in the form of war between rival traffic gangs.
Fernando Meirelles was able to transmit, in fast paced rhythms and camera movements, the struggle for power and freedom in the poor suburb. He was also able to mantain the local people-turned-actors authenticity and liberty of acting. There are some strong scenes that leave the spectator mesmerized by their violence and reality.
I just hope that the guy/team responsible for the subtitles in english, or in any other language, was someone with an enormous knowledge of portuguese, because the dialogue and constant use of slang (yours truly, a native brazilian, had some hard time in understanding the meaning of some words used in the dialogues) are, alone, amazing aspects of the movie.
One of the best enterteinment I ever had.