Thursday, July 10, 2008

MOVIE: CITY OF MEN



City of Men (Portuguese: Cidade dos Homens) is a 2007 Brazilian drama film directed by Paulo Morelli. The screenplay was written by Elena Soarez based on a story by Morelli and Soarez. It's a film version of the popular TV series City of Men that ran for four seasons in Brazil, and which followed the international success of the film City of God (2002).

Two lifelong friends raised amidst the turmoil of Rio de Janeiro's notorious Pool Hall Hill attempt to navigate the treacherous maze of adulthood after celebrating their 18th birthdays and becoming caught up in the city's endless cycle of violence in this companion piece to the Golden Globe-winning drama City of God.

Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha) and Acerola (Douglas Silva) may not be bound by blood, but these childhood friends are closer to one another than most brothers. While their friendship has gone a long way in helping them both to cope with the strife that surrounds them, the hard truth is that they will both have to fend for themselves now that they've entered into adulthood. For Laranjinha, entering this stage in life means finding his long-lost father; for Acerola it means finally taking responsibility for his growing family.

Now, as Laranjinha's cousin, quick-tempered local drug lord Madrugadão (Jonathan Haagensen), finds his power threatened by his former right-hand man Nefasto (Eduardo BR Piranha), it quickly becomes apparent that a formidable war is brewing in the poverty-stricken shantytown. The brother of Laranjinha's girlfriend, Camila (Naima Silva), looks to be a key component in this battle, threatening to draw a neutral man into a deadly confrontation. Meanwhile, Acerola's wife, Cris (Camila Monteiro), is threatening to move to São Paolo so that her family won't be consumed by the violence that has torn apart so many families before.




There is a reason why City of Men has men in its title and City of God has god in its title. There is a big difference between them. City of God was a great film that was like Goodfellas in Brazil. I thought it was better than Goodfellas and everything about it was done with skill. So I was excited to see City of Men which I thought was going to be like City of God. The only thing that it has in common with God is that it takes place in Brazil and its about the gang wars there. City of Men has nothing on the skill level that City of God had.

Men looks really cheap, the dialogue is horrible which makes reading the subtitles even worse, and the plot is just all over the place. I think the problem is that its based on a TV show. Its alright for TV shows to have a bunch of different story lines because it has the time to show them. Its not alright for a movie though because it doesn't and City of Men just seems like it took an entire season of episodes and edited them into a movie. It has too many stories and not enough time to tell them.

Why make the movie at all? I know making a movie based on a show is nothing new but the movie should be. Why make a movie that is exactly like the show? I guess it was to capitalize off of City of God, something that Men is nowhere near.

City of Men is a 4 out of 10.

The DVD features a behind the scenes look at how they made the movie which is pretty neat considering where and how they filmed it.


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