Amazon Holiday

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

City of Men

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A big screen conclusion to the Sundance Channel series, "City of Men", which is a spin off of the 2002 movie City of God, this film takes us back to the gang wars of Rio de Janeiro's most violent neighborhoods, where two best friends (Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha) are turning 18, becoming men, and being asked to make a final decision about whether they will join the gangs, or escape that deadly fate to make it on their own.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Douglas Silva, Darlan Cunha, Jonathan Haagensen, Rodrigo dos Santos, Camila Monteiro, Naima Silva, Edwardo BR, Luciano Vidigal... and introducing Vinicius and Vitor Oliveira as Clayton.

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. If you loved City of God as much as I did, you will be disappointed that this one isn't quite as good. That said, it does keep you entertained from the beginning to the end, including several high stakes moments. If you have been following the TV series, you should absolutely see how it concludes, but if you have not been following the series, don't let that scare you away, as I have not watched the show, and I had no trouble following the film.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Only if you're one of those people who laughs at funerals and death.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: No, but it will have you on the edge of your seat a couple of times.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Aren't we tired of talking about Awards yet? It's over! They're over!... Award season is finally over.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Most of the actors have perfected these roles over the course of playing them on TV, so the acting is good across the board. But I was particularly impressed with the little baby(ies) who played 2 year old, Clayton. He walked, he cried, he made cute little sounds when he lost his pacifier. It was a complex role, with complex emotions, and you think I'm joking, but when you see the film, you'll know that I'm not.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: I enjoyed how the director incorporated clips from the TV show, to show us the history of how these two friends have relied on each other like brothers since childhood. Seeing them when they were smaller and younger really drove home the importance of their bond. And the cinematography was beautiful and distinctly matched the original style of the series as spawned from the first movie.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: The story moves along, but the character's goals aren't strong enough, and I think that is the biggest problem with the movie. One of them wants to find his father, but his best friend plays down the relevance of that goal, making it seem less important than it is. The other character wants to be young and free, instead of having to deal with the responsibilities of his young wife and child. Not a particularly sympathetic goal. Somehow the character still manages to create some sympathy, because he's clearly not mature enough to be a dad. Also, the themes of whether to choose gang life or not, are not nearly as clearly depicted as in the original movie.

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