Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

City of God

"I smoke and snort," boasts one tyro terrorist. "I've killed and robbed. I'm a man." Rarely have the seductive and destructive aspects of machismo been so vividly anatomized as in this adaptation of Paulo Lins' novel about the young (often pre-teen) gangs of the Rio slum called City of God. The directors not only shepherd a huge cast of amateur actors through their remorseless paces but create a high-speed, phantasmagorical cinematic style that never lets up for two hours. The film is disturbing and enthralling — a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.