The visceral and artistic excitement remains surface-bound.
| Original Score: C
The direction is often inspired and sure-handed, even if it's sometimes unfocused or overambitious.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
I came out of the theater feeling lucky to be alive.
| Original Score: C+
Finally more numbing than emotionally shattering.
There's something distasteful in the rote way this film introduces us to two dozen hapless, heartless kids and doesn't care enough to make us feel for them.
| Original Score: 2/4
I came away from this film impressed by its narrative control but unmoved by anything it had to say.
Incredible editing, but leaves an awful taste in my mouth - and I am totally desensitized to violence!
| Original Score: 1/5
Meirelles' message is important, but the telling quickly becomes monotonous.
Meirelles plays to the crowd, plays everything for effect, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem if the subject didn't deserve greater intellectual seriousness.
A well-made but pointless picture, it is a non-stop orgy of senseless violence, as teens and preteens slaughter each other like animals.
The film is as slick as any Hollywood thriller ... that dilute the impact of what might have been an indelible cautionary tale.
The distinction between the depiction of violence and its exploitation is paper-thin.
The question of the picture isn't what to do with the City of God, but really why do anything when such cool movies can be made from its suffering.
The horrific images of children shooting children don't sit well with a tone of jaded irony, and the grinding nightmare of poverty and crime resists Cidade de Deus's playful generic conventions.
A Brazilian "Scarface"
With few exceptions, real slum kids and actors from local amateur drama clubs were cast in City of God, and the result is truly believable characters and a gritty, realistic film.
| Original Score: 5/5
For all their straddling of the line between realism and exploitation, entertainment and education, it's entirely possible that Meirelles and Lund render that line invisible.
| Original Score: 4/5
Hard to watch but even harder to tear your eyes away from.
| Original Score: 5/5
"City of God" is a movie that, for the lack of a better term, incites us. It elicits a response. It pounds away at us until we break...
| Original Score: 4/4
It is certainly one of the best movies of the year; it may even be as good as Meirelles imagined it could be.
| Original Score: A