Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: In the summer of 2000, in Rio de Janeiro, a 21-year-old hijacked a commuter bus and held its passengers hostage. The police were flummoxed as local TV crews arrived en masse to cover the headline-grabbing events as they unfolded. BUS 174 balances this potentially sensationalistic material with accounts by the police, the victims, the witnesses and friends and family of the hijacker. (Film Forum) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    Tense, engrossing, and superbly structured, Bus 174 is not just unforgettable drama but a skillfully developed argument.
  2. 90
    Tough and relentless, dazzlingly researched and crafted. At its core is compassion for those who are angry, violent and uneducated.
  3. 89
    Far from being atypical, the events of June 12 and the litany of tiny nightmares that led up to that day are brutally obvious.
  4. So wrenching and absorbing that you can easily lose sight of the sophistication of its techniques.
  5. Reviewed by: Will Lawrence
    80
    This powerful film offers no excuses for Sandro’s actions, but his situation demands our empathy.
  6. 75
    The drivel they call "reality TV" pales in comparison with the gripping big-screen documentary Bus 174.
  7. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    50
    A tense documentary with multiple layers of meaning.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. SwagV.
    Mar 10, 2007
    10
    Haunting. While I can't say it's among the best movies ever made, it's one that has stuck with me afterwards as long as anything.
  2. Jan 4, 2014
    10
    2000 olhava atentos a tv o desespero d0 174, eu na época devia ter uns 4 anos mais ao ver esse documentário fiquei chocado com as cenas. Simplesmente um filme super tenso. Expand
  3. Candy
    Mar 16, 2006
    8
    Amazingly shocking tale of a very sad and desparate young man with no specific agenda that escalated because no one was in control, not him, not the hostages, and especially not the police. The fact that the police killed him at the end was unavoidable but also inhumane. I put it up there with Munich for movies to watch just to get a glimpse into what someone is capable of doing when pushed to the point of no return and feeling no help from those who we pay our taxes for to help. Expand
  4. Jun 18, 2012
    8
    It's a brave documentary in which portrays the real situation that had happened in the big city of Brazil. The truth is not for the baby to be blamed but the society. Expand
  5. Oct 26, 2014
    7
    Score 7/10 Sandro is the name of our protagonist in Bus 174. The film is the latest in a long line of documentaries dealing with the street children of Brazil. This documentary is simply the cream of the crop. Using actual footage of a hostage crisis where Sandro takes a municipal bus hostage the film creates great tension for the viewer. (Especially American viewers like myself who have no idea how this turns out.) Interspersed between scenes of the hostage crisis are talking head interviews (a mixed bag from fascinating like Sandro's Aunt to annoying such as Sandro's social worker). Most fascinating is the sheer volume of footage from Sandro's street life before the crisis. The Documentary filmmakers really went out of their way to dig up these treasures.

    The documentary is not without flaws however. The sheer volume of people who helped Sandro out in his young life undercuts the whole street kid premise of the film. The middle third does drag as many have noted and there is a horribly misjudged scene in a jail where prisoners shout out their grievances. (Shot in the negative like the monster vision from a mid-nineties creature feature it is a clear fabrication as the filmmakers were denied access to the actual jail in question. It is unnecessary and kills the mood like that Trey Parker style cartoon in Bowling for Columbine).

    Those overall minor flaws aside this is one fascinating documentary that truly takes you into another world. Despite cursing and brief male nudity I would recommend this to every high school history class to see how the third world really lives.
    Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

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