We gave it an A-
Live by the gun, die by the gun couldn’t be a more accurate motto for the heat-packing, drug-dealing teens (and little kids!) who rule the slums surrounding Rio de Janeiro. Based on the true story of one youth who escapes (played by a quietly stormy Alexandre Rodrigues), City of God, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’ violent, Oscar-nominated drama illustrates how a low-income heaven in the ’60s morphs over a decade into a crime-infested hell. Such harsh reality would be unbearably bleak if not for the film’s artful construction, plot-thickening flashbacks, and captivating performances from the newcomer cast. EXTRAS Through police, dealer, and denizen interviews, a 55-minute doc reveals the victoryless frustration of Rio’s urban war. But such a harrowing, fact-based movie screams for more details on the production and the people behind it.