December 17, 2009

End Of The Decade Jumpoff: City of God

2002's "City of God" is the freshest movie of the decade. I'm not sure if it is the best (it could be, I haven't go that far), but it ranks highly as a film that succeeds on every level. The story is a complex tapestry of different time periods, character motivations, and adventure, all taking places in the wild slums of Rio De Janeiro. And the characters, from the terrifying Lil Ze to the heartbreaking Knockout Ned, invigorate the film with pulsating energy equal to the film's legendary soundtrack.   However, the clincher is the masterful direction by Brazilian born Fernando Meirelles.

The opening scene of the movie featured above, is an astounding feat of raw filmmaking. From a technical standpoint it's incredible; the editing, sound design, and camera work is dope (it even uses the "matrix" effect in an artistic way). When looked at the context of the story, the commencement is even more brilliant because it briefly introduces us to many of the main characters of the film  way before we get to know them in the context of the story. On repeat viewings of the film, the viewer can pick out characters and say, "damn, I didn't realize Carrot is holding a gun in that scene."

Yet what really sets the film apart for me is it's incredible depth. You show the movie to your bros and it's a "Scarface" like criminal narrative full of larger than life characters and badass one liners. On another level, it's a moving coming of age story (albeit a violent one) about a boy who matures into a strong young man and talented artist (the film was based off the autobiographical book written by the main character "Rocket"). And finally from a cultural standpoint, it really set the tone for the action-thriller genre. The handheld camera work came two years before "The Bourne Supremacy" made it the norm, and the gritty realism would set the tone from everything from "Slumdog Millionare" to even the most recent video game smash "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

Check it out, I guarantee you'll like it, and that guarantee comes with a 100% stamp of approval of freshness. Keep it fresh, keep it cool, and keep it as one of the best movies of the decade.

1 comment:

  1. Legit post. This movie was phenominal- especially when Tiago's head gets blown all over the windshield of that truck.