City of God review by Rosie

City of God

There are few more disillusioning experiences than to have your own decisions correctly predicted by an algorithm. Even the most cruel and unfair acts imposed on one human by another can at least be reasoned, from a distance, to be an issue of opportunity and circumstance – something that might have occurred differently if conditions or decisions leading up to it had been different for either party anywhere along the way. But to have a computer just take in a little info about you and be able to tell you exactly how you’re going to react in a given circumstance, and be right about it, well that’s just plain dehumanizing. Even worse is when your reaction is predicted and told to you well in advance, you spend time actively preparing yourself to not do what the computer thinks you’re going to do, and you still do just what it predicted. Let me tell you, if you’re ever just kicking around bored and looking to get your depression on, that is definitely where it’s at.

Case in point for me was the fact that I really, really liked City of God. When I first opened my Netflix account a few months ago, I rated about a dozen or so movies for their profile feature and, lo and behold, the first movie they spit back out to me on a list of “Movies You’ll Like” was this obscure little foreign romp called City of God. “Smooth move, Net-flax,” I said out loud to my computer screen. First of all, I’m not a big foreign movie buff. Second of all, I’m not particularly religious. And most of all, I don’t like to be told what to do. “Three strikes says your out, buuuooooy!”, I added, punctuating it with a punch-kick karate combo towards the screen so bad-ass that my dog almost peed himself. But I added it to my queue anyway just to see how wrong they could be. Way down at the bottom, below the movies I knew I would really like. Here’s what I thought about it.

(Stupid) City of (stupid) God is a fascinatingly well-crafted (stupidhead) movie. Set in the (dumb) ghettoes of one of Rio de (jerkface) Janeiro, the plot weaves multiple (think you know everything about me…) characters through both simultaneous and sequential storylines that (maybe I know everything about you …) never miss a detail or fail to deliver on a thread (Mr. Perfect everything superjerk). The two main threads follow (uglyface) Rocket and (buttkisser) Li’l Zé as the very different paths they choose to get out of the slums continues to cause their lives to intersect. (Better shut up or you’ll be sorry, Nerdflix). Along the way, dozens of (lucky I don’t punch you) deeply considered lives and stories become attached to each of theirs and (lucky guess) the filmmakers craft a truly masterful look at the human condition in a (probably cheated anyway) world where everyone’s fates are intertwined and yet everyone is forced to prey ruthlessly on those around them just (not the best movie ever like you said) to survive.

The large (I can like whatever I want) cast consists of several newcomers and amateurs, with the only remotely recognizable name being Seu Jorge, who plays Knockout Ned and might look familiar to big Wes (it’s not ‘cause you told me to, you know) Andersen fans. Every one of them gives an impressively realistic performance in a (I like lots of movies you didn’t say, Mr. Genius) film that highlights the directors’ deft (no one really likes you, you know) touch with a multi-layered story as much as it does anything else. (Say it to my face next time, why don’t you).

Knowing what I know about you, I would definitely recommend this movie to you as one you would like. (Nuh-uh, It’s not the same thing. I know what they’ll like ‘cause I do it different than you, Netfreaks. Just different, that’s how. You wouldn’t even get it. Shut up.)

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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