Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Film Review: CITY OF MEN [Cidade dos Homens] (2007)

City of Men poster Co-Writer/Director: Paulo Morelli
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 18th July 2008

Watched on Sky+ Monday 19th September 2011.


This is the follow-up to one of my favourite films, City of God (2002). It continues the theme of life in the poorer parts of Rio and takes a closer look at how things are today. I really enjoyed it, although it doesn’t have the depth of ‘City of God’, I still found the simple storytelling quite refreshing. I had better warn those scared of subtitles that it is in Portuguese with the dreaded words at the bottom of the screen. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

cidade-dos-homens-poster Two friends, Acerola and Laranjinha are turning eighteen. Acerola is already married and has a son, Clayton. Laranjinha is less than content because he doesn’t know who his father is. They both live on ‘Dead End Hill’, an area that is run by a gang lead by a character known as Midnight. Whilst talking about their plight one day a plan is hatched to discover just who Laranjinha’s father is. They ask around and eventually get a lead, but I think it would be giving too much away if I told you any more about this. Meanwhile, one of Midnight’s lieutenants defects to another gang and they decide they want to move into ‘Dead End Hill’. Who will survive? Will Laranjinha find his father? As you can probably guess, I’m not going to tell you here of the Spoiler Police will be finding my corpse in the quarry.

city-of-men-2007-01 Beautifully shot, I love the grainy look and feel to this film. It’s almost like it was filmed on a home movie camera in places, but it still has a professional feel to it. Although it’s quite hard to judge a performance in a foreign language, I must give praise to the young leads; Douglas Silva as Acerola and Darlan Cunha as Laranjinha. I thought they were both excellent.

cityofmen This film will always be compared to ‘City of God’, but it doesn’t have the epic scope of that film. Instead it is more compact and because of that it’s much easier to identify with the characters. There are little flashbacks to when the boys were younger that is a neat way of bringing the audience closer to the story. Over all, it’s a nice simple drama that has some really nice touches. I know it’s not had a great deal of exposure, but it’s certainly one I can recommend, particularly if you enjoyed ‘City of God’. You can probably tell I really enjoyed this one.

My Score: 8.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 6,016 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76/100 (based on 79 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

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city-of-men-01 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Sorry, no favourite quotes this time, my Portuguese isn’t up to it I’m afraid… :-)



Myerla said...

Superb review. City of God is also one of fave films of all time. Stunning performances. Might check this one out.

AdamMoody said...

Wonderful review, Andy!! I love City of God, so this sounds absolutely fantastic.

Rodders said...

brilliant review, Steel Andy. I haven't seen City of God or Men, but they sound brilliant.

dj brother charlie said...

Both movies are really solid, I will say that any fan of these will absolutely love the telenovela "Cidade Dos Homens" that ran for 4 years right after City Of God was made, following the same children from City of Men, but having about 20 episodes to work with gets more in depth personally, socially, and musically. It also catches the boys at a great age, going from boyhood into adolescence. If you buy the DVDs it has translation (or I believe Netflix disks may be available too). They are also on YouTube but unfortunately no translation.