City of God Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 309 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Welcome to the world's most notorious slum: Rio de Janeiro's 'City of God.' A place where combat photographers fear to tread, where Police rarely go, and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. This is the true story of a young man who grew up on these streets and whose ambitionWelcome to the world's most notorious slum: Rio de Janeiro's 'City of God.' A place where combat photographers fear to tread, where Police rarely go, and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. This is the true story of a young man who grew up on these streets and whose ambition as a photographer is our window in and ultimately may be him only way out. (Miramax) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 100
    Breathtaking and terrifying, urgently involved with its characters, it announces a new director of great gifts and passions: Fernando Meirelles.
  2. 100
    An exhilarating slap in the face, bracing and sexy, smart and visceral, stylish and raw -- the advent of a fabulously exciting new moviemaking talent.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    The film is seductive, disturbing, enthralling -- a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.
  4. Undeniably powerful, the work also comes with its own built-in shield against feeling any one character's difficulties too deeply, or for too long.
  5. For those who didn't get enough violence from Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," welcome to City of God.
  6. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    70
    The impressive filmmaking craftsmanship and sharp storytelling skills make this two-hour-plus epic fly by.
  7. Undeniably powerful, but also rather numbing.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 92
  2. Negative: 5 out of 92
  1. CiaronD.
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    Utter class! the city of god is a classic film set in the ghetto of brazil, showing real life events and on-goings, amazing story, has to be Utter class! the city of god is a classic film set in the ghetto of brazil, showing real life events and on-goings, amazing story, has to be a all time favourite of mine, 1st discovered it in film studies at college and thought it was class from the first viewing! hope to see it again soon! Expand
  2. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    Filmogaphy on this move is an evolution of anything hollywood ever acomplished. A real lesson on how to film a story that screams reality. OneFilmogaphy on this move is an evolution of anything hollywood ever acomplished. A real lesson on how to film a story that screams reality. One of the most violent movies ever made is also one of the most beautifully filmed. Expand
  3. ApocalypseBrown
    Jun 12, 2007
    10
    Nothing is perfect in film making, but this is as close as you get.Gripping, intelligent, subtle, violent, tragic, it has it all. After this Nothing is perfect in film making, but this is as close as you get.Gripping, intelligent, subtle, violent, tragic, it has it all. After this film you really to reflect and sympathise with the poor of Brazil. In my top ten films of all time. And Metacritic, sack your advance scout, Chad S. His review flat out sucked! Expand
  4. Feb 28, 2013
    10
    This movie was amazing, the level of realism was great, the acting was great, despite there being no stars in the film. It really had meaning,This movie was amazing, the level of realism was great, the acting was great, despite there being no stars in the film. It really had meaning, when some of the characters died, I even felt that I cared. Expand
  5. Oct 10, 2014
    10
    It's a strong and realistic portrait of difficulties of living in Brazil's favelas .. It's violent, often hard to see, the acting is excellentIt's a strong and realistic portrait of difficulties of living in Brazil's favelas .. It's violent, often hard to see, the acting is excellent and the plot just awsome. Moreover, the story is based on true events: that's enforce the realism and the immersion! Finally, the scenes are wonderfully filmed: the producer dealt an incredible work! Sure we are facing one of the best movies ever made! (specially in foreign country) Expand
  6. Mar 4, 2013
    9
    City of God follows the fortunes of a group of children growing up in a poor, crime infested part of Rio de Janeiro. The story centers mainlyCity of God follows the fortunes of a group of children growing up in a poor, crime infested part of Rio de Janeiro. The story centers mainly around two characters. Each with very similar lives, but who take vastly different paths. This juxtaposition is what drives the narrative in City Of God, and what makes it so compelling.

    Rocket feels out of place in the world he lives. he wants to be a photographer. We know from the moment we meet him that he longs to rise above the horrendous poverty and crime that envelopes him. He stands out in this world, others are naturally drawn to his soft temperament and demeanor even if they don't realize the reason. Rocket does not readily have the means to rise above this world so consequently he comes across many stumbling blocks in his life. One of the more interesting sequences in the film is when Rocket concludes that he has no other options than to resort to the life most of his peers have. How this decision plays out results in some of the more lighthearted moments in City Of God. While Rocket's path may not be more interesting than others in the story, it is the most sympathetic.

    Li'l Ze is the polar opposite of Rocket. He doesn't long to rise above this world, he longs to rule over it. The perverse crime and violence he sees all around him doesn't hinder him, it compels him. Li'l Ze earns the kind of respect that comes from brute force, and he learns these tactics at a frighteningly young age. If Li'l Ze is going to be a criminal he is determined to the most powerful criminal in the City of God. This is his only motivation, and what he allows to define his existence.

    There are many other characters in City Of God. This film has lots of moving parts. However most of the other players move within the framework of the two main characters. Rocket and Li'l Ze are the black and white of the movie, while the other characters represent the shades of gray. It is an interesting way to tell a story, and works exceptionally well here.

    If I have an issue with City of God it is with the way the movie was shot. We get very few static shots in this film. Everything is quick cuts and shaky camera. While this style never completely keeps me from enjoying a film, it can detract from my enjoyment some. It is very hard to get a sense of time and place when this style is employed, City if God was no exception to this. It also make it difficult to differentiate between the good and bad acting within this style. I suppose this can work positively for the director, but I still consider it a detriment.

    Overall I would consider City of God a great crime drama. The story is extremely well told, with many interesting memorable characters. This is the kind of movie that is still with you weeks or months after you see it. I am looking forward to revisiting it in the future.
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  7. Nov 5, 2014
    0
    Really ??? Is this a movie with 8.9 score ??? I must be from another planet. For those who should be surprised with my "0", I'm a wellReally ??? Is this a movie with 8.9 score ??? I must be from another planet. For those who should be surprised with my "0", I'm a well educated man and watched the movie very carefully and only with coffee. Some young brasilian dirtbags kill each other. Yes for 2 hours this is it. Trash movie, trash actors, trash plot. Expand

See all 92 User Reviews