Cidade de Deus (City of God) Reviews

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Rob Humanick
Projection Booth
November 12, 2008

The visceral and artistic excitement remains surface-bound.

Full Review | Original Score: C
Jeremy Heilman
August 22, 2002

The direction is often inspired and sure-handed, even if it's sometimes unfocused or overambitious.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
March 19, 2003

I came out of the theater feeling lucky to be alive.

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Jan Stuart
Top Critic
January 17, 2003

Finally more numbing than emotionally shattering.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
Top Critic
January 24, 2003

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
November 8, 2011

I came away from this film impressed by its narrative control but unmoved by anything it had to say.

Karina Montgomery
March 6, 2003

Incredible editing, but leaves an awful taste in my mouth - and I am totally desensitized to violence!

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Jean Lowerison
San Diego Metropolitan
February 15, 2003

Meirelles' message is important, but the telling quickly becomes monotonous.

Elbert Ventura
January 6, 2004

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.

Steve Rhodes
Internet Reviews
January 20, 2003

A well-made but pointless picture, it is a non-stop orgy of senseless violence, as teens and preteens slaughter each other like animals.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
January 17, 2003

The film is as slick as any Hollywood thriller ... that dilute the impact of what might have been an indelible cautionary tale.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
January 16, 2003

The distinction between the depiction of violence and its exploitation is paper-thin.

Walter Chaw
Film Freak Central
March 13, 2003

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Peter Keough
Boston Phoenix
May 17, 2003

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.

Louis Proyect
July 23, 2004

A Brazilian "Scarface"

Koki Mourao
February 17, 2003

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly
September 6, 2003

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
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
March 20, 2003

Hard to watch but even harder to tear your eyes away from.

| Original Score: 5/5
Steven Snyder
Zertinet Movies
March 17, 2004

"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...

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
April 18, 2003

It is certainly one of the best movies of the year; it may even be as good as Meirelles imagined it could be.

Full Review | Original Score: A

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012

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