Watching City of God it was easy to realize where the chief inspiration for Slumdog Millionaire lay; add love and game show angles and shift the location from Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and voila, you have the pseudo-masterpiece from Danny Boyle. This debut feature of Fernando Meirelles, an intoxicating and undeniably powerful film, is a violent saga of the crime-ridden underbelly of the swanky metropolis of Brazil. The story is told over the course of a decade through the eyes of a young turk named Rocket who is growing up in an environ tailor-made to produce criminals – be it like the psychotic Lil’ Ze or like his far more humane comrade-in-arm – who are destined to face violent comeuppance. Rocket, however, realizes early in his life that crime isn’t his cup of tea, and decides to become a photographer and capture the events instead of being part of them. Boasting of brilliantly natural performances from the cast of non-professional actors, a dizzying narrative, visuals that are breathtaking in their raw beauty, and technical virtuosity, the movie is a rare tour de force.
Director: Fernando Meirelles Genre: Crime Drama/Urban Drama/Gangster Movie/Biopic/Docu-fiction/Coming of Age Language: Spanish Country: Brazil