In Richard Linklater's movies, we have an aggregation of stories and characters that are only loosely tied together. In Slackers, one character from a previous vignette interacts with a new character and the camera follows the new character to a new story. It could be a brief passing in the convenience store, or they could be friends, but the interaction becomes the vehicle to move the story along. City of God uses the camera itself to join scenes together. We begin the movie with a street barbeque in the slums of Rio. One of the guests doesn't want to be there and this chicken frees itself from the party and takes off. The camera follows the chicken in a frantic romp through the city. This moving, quick camera is now the tie between different elements of the story in City of God. The story is told in parallel, in flashback, in current day settings, and in narrative. It's disjointed but that definitely seems to be part of the intention. It's pace keeps the movie together along with some interesting visual tricks.
The reluctant protagonist is Rocket - a young man that dreams of photography. The story equally centers itself around Lil Ze, once a friend of Rocket's and now a drug lord for the slums of Rio, known as the City of God. Later in the movie, we shift to Knockout Ned who wants to end Lil Ze's reign over their slice of the city. A disturbing amount of violence will follow any power shift centered around drugs, and City of God does not try to escape the violence.
Rocket survives in this movie through wit and skill; although, it is not clear that it his movie. We are also watching numerous boys mature into unsure men with little to do except continue to live in the City of God.
Definitely worthwhile and very good.
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