Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Movie Review: City of God

Okay so I've basically hit a bit of a reviewer's wall. There's lots of stuff I've seen over the past few weeks but for various reasons I've been having trouble talking about it but even I'm starting to feel bad about how sparse this blog is getting so let's get the queue moving.

After Lupin the Third The Woman Called Fujiko Mine I've been meaning to talk about Michiko & Hatchin from the same director for a while but before I do I feel I need to talk about that show's two major influences.  City of God and Thelma and Louise. That show is more or less the later with the setting of the former along with its characters and plot as back story. Satoshi is basically Lil Ze with sunglasses

So let's do this.

The movie is basically the testimonial of Rio De Jineiro's slum of the same name and crime there in through the eyes of Rocket our narrator. There are a couple of things that make the film interesting but the best I woud say is Rocket's voice. When context for a place or person is needed it tells the audience the audience the story of things came to be. Point of fact the entire movie is framed this way as its mostly a series of recursive flashbacks.

The movie is hard to talk about because while there are central characters that go through arcs that's not the point. The movie is seeking to tell the story of a place and imbue it with a history pulled by its characters. And it succeeds. Largely though its style and fable tinged narration by Rocket.

To me Rocket's narration really is what makes the film as he has this sort of dead pan matter of fact way of describing really extraordinary events which juxtaposes to the film's flamboyant visual style.

That dissonance lends to the audience a feeling that we are continually in the past dealing with events that have already played out in this place. Eh that thing happened but now I got to deal with this other thing that's kind of related. Speaking of which, that is more or less how the film deals with transitions since Rocket is continually telling the audience this history as a context for whatever he currently is describing. For instance the entire film is a framing story explaining how Rocket found himself between lines when the cops and a bunch gangsters meet each other around a corner.

I would feel guilty about spoiling the end of the movie and sort of the big finish except that last bit is an extended version of the open which starts in media res and as stated the movie is mostly about how really everybody got there. The story of Lil Ze, Rocket, Knockout Ned. Heck even Tiago, the guy the narrator hates...well dislikes, gets a back story explaining how he wound up there.

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