Cidade dos Homens (City of Men)


Cidade dos Homens (City of Men)

Critics Consensus

Brutal and unflinching, City of Men is both a harrowing look at Brazil's favela life, and a touching tale of youths rushed into adulthood.



Total Count: 81


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,193
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Movie Info

Two lifelong friends raised amidst the turmoil of Rio de Janeiro's notorious Pool Hall Hill attempt to navigate the treacherous maze of adulthood after celebrating their 18th birthdays and becoming caught up in the city's endless cycle of violence in director Paulo Morelli's companion piece to the Golden Globe-winning drama City of God. Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha) and Acerola (Douglas Silva) may not be bound by blood, but these childhood friends are closer to one another than most brothers. While their friendship has gone a long way in helping them both to cope with the strife that surrounds them, the hard truth is that they will both have to fend for themselves now that they've entered into adulthood. For Laranjinha, entering this stage in life means finding his long-lost father; for Acerola it means finally taking responsibility for his growing family. Now, as Laranjinha's cousin, quick-tempered local drug lord Madrugadão (Jonathan Haagensen), finds his power threatened by his former right-hand man Nefasto (Eduardo BR Piranha), it quickly becomes apparent that a formidable war is brewing in the poverty-stricken shantytown. The brother of Laranjinha's girlfriend, Camila (Naima Silva), looks to be a key component in this battle, threatening to draw a neutral man into a deadly confrontation. Meanwhile, Acerola's wife, Cris (Camila Monteiro), is threatening to move to São Paolo so that her family won't be consumed by the violence that has torn apart so many families before. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Cidade dos Homens (City of Men)

All Critics (81) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (20)

  • It's all perfectly serviceable -- but it wants for freshness and vitality.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Top Critic
  • It plays like a Western, and the violence, while plentiful and visceral, rarely has the kind of raw impact you want in a movie such as this. Morelli keeps most of the blood off-camera.

    Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • [It has] a real ring of authenticity in every scene.

    Mar 10, 2008
  • Where City of God was ferocious, grandiose, and glamorous, this movie is modest and intimate, acoustic where the other was desperate to electrify.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The story might have been lifted from an old Warner Brothers melodrama, though it's smartly paced, sincerely delivered, and consistently absorbing.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Along comes a sequel of sorts, City of Men, but the difference is clear right from the first frame: Meirelles is gone and so is the intensity. What's left is a mix of credible sociology and tired melodrama, along with a palpable sense of déjà vu.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cidade dos Homens (City of Men)

  • Jun 29, 2014
    "City of God" was harsh enough, and now, God is leaving things in the hands of men, and teenaged men, no less, so this ought to be real hardcore. For those of you who wanted to see more of kids being brutal gangsters in "City of Gold", then this is the coming-of-age film for you, you sick, demented freak. More than that, this film is for those jerks who say that you can't make a decent sequel, or TV shows into decent movies... you know, because this film is based on a TV show. Yeah, I hadn't heard about the "City of Men" series, but then again, as much Mexican TV as we're being bombarded with in the States, I'm not especially enthusiastic about splitting hairs and actively seeking out Brazilian TV. I was offensive enough with my jokes about black people in Brazil with my opener for "City of God", and now I'm poking fun at Portuguese, so, needless to say, I better not visit Brazil any time soon if it's this brutal. Man, Rio de Janeiro is supposed to be pretty, but it has a dark side, and in case you didn't get that after a major film and four seasons of a TV show, here's yet another reminder that the filmmakers felt that you needed. Hey, I'll take it, not just because I'm apparently four seasons behind on this show, but because this film was reasonably worth waiting for, which isn't to say that this is on the level of its predecessor, falling, or rather, dragging itself shy of its potential. Running not but a little over 100 minutes, this film is a good deal shorter than "City of God", and I suppose that it's therefore not as overlong, but it is overdrawn enough to spend too much time with certain story layers and segments, to where the eventual shifts jar so greatly that the narrative ends up feeling pretty unnervingly disjointed. If the structural dragging does nothing else, it leads to limp spells in material which in turn lead to dry spells in thoughtful, perhaps even too thoughtful direction by Paulo Morelli, whose tension is adequate, but hardly compared to the intensity of Fernando Meirelles' direction, no matter how hard the filmmakers work to emulate elements of the predecessor. There are a few twists and turns to this sequel, but in so many ways, this film shamelessly succumbs to the formula of its predecessor, which was itself formulaic, thus, you end up with a follow-up to an almost innovative drama that is ironically hardly unique, being almost tired, particularly with its melodramatics. Although "City of God" was often too real to be all that comforting as a grimy drama, it was at least consistently genuine, and while this film is far from contrived, it does feel a little manufactured with its histrionics at times, as though it is ambitiously struggling to sustain a sense of conflict and weight, through all the limitations in dramatic meat. There is a fair bit to complain about, of course, but when you get down to it, the biggest shortcomings seem to be of a natural persuasion within more narratively tamed and less layered story concept, whose interpretation simply tries to juice things up. All of the dragging, histrionics and overall ambition ironically end up driving you to focus more on how there's only so much potential to this drama, which is promising, make no mistake, but just not as juicy as its predecessor, at least enough to handle the consequential shortcomings' blows and retain reward value. The final product ultimately succumbs to underwhelmingness, but it at least fights a good enough fight to border on overcoming the shortcomings, even going so far as to rest upon the shoulders of compelling style. Allowed to play with his modernist flare a little bit more, without the accompaniment of Ed Cortês, Antonio Pinto turns in a score that is still unevenly used, yet subtly, but surely more unique than the score to "City of God", being rich with a fast-pace, when not tastefully tender Brazilian flare that colors up the film about as much as cinematography by Adriano Goldman which, while arguably too derivative of the visual style of "City of God", all but captivates with a ruggedly shady grit that fits this drama like a glove. Stylistically, the film excels, often as surely as it predecessor did, and sometimes more so, and such style does do a lot to keep the film engaging, partly through its flavoring up entertainment value with aesthetic value, and largely through its fitting the nitty and gritty, yet tasteful story. Thinner, more formulaic and more disjointed, this film's story is lacking compared to that of "City of God", even in concept, but there's also something more compelling about this more intimate crime thriller, whose retaining a degree of tension establishes a degree of potential that is ultimately done an injustice in too many places in overambitious storytelling. Even Elena Soarez's and Paulo Morelli's script tries too hard in too many places, but when it finds realization through structural and dramatic excess, it sees well-rounded characterization and a certain surprisingly tasteful thoughtfulness that is augmented by Morelli's direction, which, for all its being so overblown, yet still not as biting as the direction of the predecessor, bits when it most ought to. Mind you, that simply means that this film is adequate as a thriller which fails to consistently engross, but it's nonetheless a relative success as a pretty engaging, if often sloppy, and ultimately intimate, character-driven drama. If nothing else keeps the heart of this dramatic character thriller pumping, it is the acting, something that I admittedly find more impressive here, due to there being more material for the cast to bring to life with charisma and layers, with leads Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha most standing out with their chemistry and individual nuances. These very young talents, at not even 20, drive the final product a respectable distance, and while the final product isn't quite pushed to a rewarding state that it couldn't achieve merely with strong performances, the acting, in addition to other elements which meet ambition with inspiration, engage plenty, just not as much as it could have. In conclusion, the structure is draggy and disjointed, while a lack of the tension from the predecessor, plenty of conventions and a fair deal of melodramatics, all behind a story of only so much scope, secure the final product as underwhelming, but just barely, as sharp score work and visual style compliment the flare of a story that is truly done justice by the tasteful, if overambitious writing and direction, and solid performances - particularly those of Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha - that secure Paulo Morelli's "City of Men" as, maybe not as rewarding, but as serviceably compelling as a continuation in a brutal portrayal of the dark side of Rio de Janeiro. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 07, 2011
    A worthy follow-up and conclusion to the TV series, but unfairly shadowed by the greatness of City of God. The two long-time friends now deal with problems that are more compelling than before, and they even get caught up in a war between rival gangs that could cost them their friendship.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 25, 2010
    it's just plain impossible to continue on the same level of success that City of God have received, but City of men follows the same tracks as his predecessor. This is about two adolescents about to turn 18 that are searching for the origin of their fathers and are caught in between a gang leader and his second who betrayed him to rule his Hill in Rio De Janeiro. Problems evolve as the boys have strong family bonds linking them to the bosses, and the film will strongly ask how much could the power of friendship hold against emotional foes. This certainly isn't on the same par as Cidade de Deus, bass it's nonetheless a good film, and should definitely be watched in its language of origin for maximal satisfaction.
    Raja N Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2010
    Good movie from Brazil. City of Men is about 2 best friends Acerola and Laranjinha, who are about to turn 18. They both discover things about their missing fathers' pasts which will shatter their solid friendship, in the middle of a war between rival drug gangs from Rio's favelas. It's well acted with a solid storyline. It may not be as good as City of God, but it still packs a punch.
    Jonny C Super Reviewer

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