Slick televison follow-up hits the right notes again
, 04 Nov 2004
City of Men, is the inevitable follow-up to the visceral whirlwind that was Fernando Mereilles 'City of God'. Set in the slums of Rio, 'City of God' was an exercise in dazzling imagery with set-piece after set-piece which brilliantly interwieved between narratives. Undoubtably Mereilles film was the highlight of 2003, and if it provided the high octane thrills, this televisual follow-up is the mellowing come down.
Mereilles is involved again, but here only in the form of a producer. As expected with televison, each episode is self-contained and equilibrium is restored from one show to the next. The show in essence is a rites of passage tale, following the lives of two school friends Acerola and Laranjinha, here we see their search for money, freedom and girls.
When the show portrays the innocence of the central characters against the hard world of gangland Brazil it works well, but the show seems to have a morbid delight in taking swipes at the government and racial division in Brazil. Unfortunately the show has a heavy handed way of making its points and by the end of the second season you feel as if you've been smacked by a sledgehammer.
Still, nevermind the critcisms, the show still sparkles with fine performances and although the episodes are hit and miss, when it is good it is very good.
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