City of God


Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The film is seductive, disturbing, enthralling -- a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.
  2. 100
    Like a bomb exploding in a fireworks factory: It's fierce and shocking and dazzling and wonderful.
  3. A marvelous achievement that refuses to avert its gaze from the poetry and the insane savagery of the hopeless.
  4. 100
    Meticulous in its descriptions of well-intended individuals caught up in these ferocious waves of street crime.
  5. 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.
  6. One of the most uncompromisingly bleak films I've ever seen.
  7. 100
    It's a trip to Hell and back, and testimony for embittered cynics of all that a movie can be.
  8. 100
    The film finds a surprising amount of tenderness and humor beneath the brutality. The laughs may catch in the throat, but that's only a byproduct of City Of God's power to leave viewers breathless.
  9. 100
    Breathtaking and terrifying, urgently involved with its characters, it announces a new director of great gifts and passions: Fernando Meirelles.
  10. 100
    One of the most startling, grittily brilliant films in recent years.
  11. 100
    A visual and aural feast that combines elements of classic gangster melodramas, crime epics such as "The Godfather" and playful non-linear narratives such as "Amores Perros," City of God explores a deadly culture while feeling more alive than anything that's hit the big screen in years.
  12. As the movie's frenetic visual rhythms and mood swings synchronize with the zany, adrenaline-fueled impulsiveness of its lost youth on the rampage, you may find yourself getting lost in this teeming netherworld.
  13. Emotionally gripping from start to finish, the movie presents an electrifying and unforgettable look at life in a place that God has all but forgotten.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This is one movie in which you don't feel the long-ish running time, in part because there always seems to be a surprise (as well as a new street guerrilla) around every corner.
  15. 88
    Despite the grim, serious nature of the subject matter, Meirelles unearths occasional moments of humor, although they are often of the gallows variety.
  16. An epic docudrama - electric and raw.
  17. 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.
  18. 80
    A tightly woven tapestry of extraordinary breadth, and director Fernando Meirelles's control over the material is extraordinary.
  19. Brutal, tough to watch but impossible to ignore.
  20. In God's ghetto, as in so many of the world's forsaken places, warring armies of infants brandish their weapons of self-destruction, while politicians bluster and inspectors sleep.
  21. For those who didn't get enough violence from Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," welcome to City of God.
  22. Predictably, the violence is overwhelming. But the massacres are glamorized, and the characters look like they're posing for tourism posters.
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's sensationally well-made: skittery and kinetic, packed with mayhem, yet framed (and narrated) with witty detachment, so that the carnage never seems garish. The film is far from a work of art, but it marks the emergence of a great new action superchef.
  24. Nothing if not confrontational.
  25. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    The impressive filmmaking craftsmanship and sharp storytelling skills make this two-hour-plus epic fly by.
  26. It takes a strong stomach to sit through its two-plus hours of non-stop brutality (much of it involving very small children).
  27. 63
    A razzle-dazzle lower-depths melodrama.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 411 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 96
  2. Negative: 5 out of 96
  1. Aug 1, 2012
    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. Full Review »
  2. Mar 26, 2016
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  3. Nov 5, 2014
    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. Full Review »