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11-28-2012, 12:04 AM
  #135
kihei
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Elite Squad (2007), directed by Jose Padilha: I saw the sequel to this film, Elite Squad: the Enemy Within a couple of years ago and thought that it was among the most compelling cop/crime action movies that I had ever seen, and massively underrated. I finally picked up the original film, Elite Squad, and it may be even more ferocious and pissed off than its follow-up, if that is possible. I don’t know for certain which film is angrier, but I think it’s this one. The first fifty minutes of the film are actually didactic, the sole purpose being to establish what a complete ****hole the slums of Rio are. The Elite Squad, referred to by their local acronym BOPE, pride themselves on being trained more rigorously than their counterparts in Israel. Their mandate is to deal with all the drug dealers in the 700 slums of Rio and with all the cops who are on the take, a number that constitutes the overwhelming majority of the regular police force. Partly, the movie strongly suggests, this symbiotic relationship between dealer and cop actually helps to keep the peace, that is, until somebody ****s up and somebody ****s up every day. So the Elite Squad stays very busy. With the Pope coming to town and choosing to stay at a residence that borders on one of the most destitute slums, the Elite Squad is called into action to make sure His Holiness doesn’t have any gun shots disturbing his sleep at night. Basically, their job is to go into the barrio and take care of business by any means necessary. Which they do. The message of the film is uncompromisingly, unflinchingly illiberal: the only way to fight fire is with greater fire. The movie notes but is not especially sympathetic with the fact that this approach takes a terrible toll on squad members personal lives and mental well being. Too bad, the film suggests, that's the only way to deal with the situation. To what extent this is an accurate picture of Rio de Janeiro, I obviously can’t say, but the authenticity that the film communicates is exceptionally convincing. Both movies make really interesting companion pieces with City of God, another movie about drugs, slums, corruption, and violence in Rio.


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Last edited by kihei: 11-28-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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