Bus 174 (Ônibus 174) Reviews
Probably watch it on your own with no distractions
Filled throughout with extraordinary on sight 'real' footage of the horrific event. This film doesn't just crucify Sandro (The Young Homeless Man) it goes into his past & shows what he went through prior in life.
This film really challenges the police actions in this event which where extremely poor. A powerful film especially the last 10 mins it'll stay with you.
It seems to me that the most important thing in a hostage situation is to pick a single person to be in charge. That person should have experience with hostage situations and not be inclined to bow to media or political pressure. I admit I am not an expert on the subject; that person in charge shouldn't be me, and not just because of my tendency toward panic attacks. However, the point is that this is not what happened here. No one is entirely sure who was really calling the shots in Rio on that June day in 2000. It almost certainly wasn't someone on the site; it was almost certainly someone at the governor's mansion. Not, of course, a police officer. Someone whose primary concern was how the whole thing was playing out on camera, not how to get the best possible resolution of the situation. The goal was to take the man alive, not to keep the hostages safe, and that probably has quite a lot to do with how things ended.
On the Brazilian equivalent of Valentine's Day, Sandro Rosa do Nascimento boarded a bus on route 174 through the Jardim Botânico section of Rio de Janeiro. This is a reasonably prosperous neighbourhood, and do Nascimento's goal is believed to have been simple robbery. However, one of the passengers signaled to a police car passing by, and the robbery escalated into a hostage situation. Before long, do Nascimento was insisting that he would start killing hostages at six o'clock that evening. Perhaps by coincidence, the bus route goes by one of Brazil's major TV stations, and the whole thing was on live TV pretty much right away. The police had surrounded the bus, but there was no clear order as to how they would handle the situation. It was when do Nascimento shot into the floor of the bus, pretending to wound one of the passengers, that things reached a point from which no one could back down. In the end, both do Nascimento and passenger Geisa Firmo Gonçalves died.
One of the points documentarian José Padilha raises is that the average police officer in Rio is ill-equipped and ill-trained. Most of them become police officers because it's the only job they can find, not out of any real interest in doing the job. The SWAT teams are well trained and highly effective, but of course SWAT did not have authority in the situation. Probably, if they had, the situation would have turned out very differently, but only probably. There's a lot of guesswork involved in the situation; one of the people interviewed insisted that he knew the shooting of the passenger was fake, because no one escaped from the bus at the time. He would have, so obviously they would have. The passenger who became a victim, Geisa Firmo Gonçalves, was a schoolteacher. It's hard to believe that she would be able to think clearly in the situation, because she hadn't been trained for it. Clearly, the average Rio cop wasn't trained for this situation, either.
In addition to showing us the events of 12 June, the film shows us how do Nascimento got to the place where he was robbing bus passengers. He, like many other children, was homeless and living on the streets. He was one of the survivors of the Candelária massacre, wherein eight street children were killed by police firing into the place where they took shelter at night. While the children weren't entirely innocent--they made their living through theft and prostitution, for example, and had thrown stones at police cars earlier that day--there was no reason to kill them. This really means that do Nascimento had it driven home how little he mattered to the people in charge. Despite the belief that as many as fifty policemen were involved, hardly anyone was actually convicted and served time. Another of the survivors says that do Nascimento was a cocaine addict who was more likely to steal to buy cocaine than to buy food. We are also shown the horrors of a Brazilian jail and why someone might prefer death to imprisonment.
One of the things that sets the Jardim Botânico neighbourhood apart from much of the rest of Rio is that it does not border a favela, one of the notorious Brazilian slums. Even those people who do not live in one usually live near one. Most of what Americans, at least, know about Rio is Carnival and the favelas. It is a city of great contrasts, and while one of the protests of such films as [i]Black Orpheus[/i] is that it focuses on Carnival, and there's more to Rio than that, surely many Brazilians find it preferable to the current fixation on the favelas, which serve as colourful backdrops for chase scenes quite a lot these days. It is posited in this film that the favelas, and the residents thereof, have become literally invisible to many Brazilians, and it must be even more true in Jardim Botânico, where you can never just cross a street and be in utter poverty. I don't know if I'd go so far as to agree that it's one of the reasons do Nascimento did what he did, but it's probably one of the worst problems facing Brazil today.