CT FILM FEST REVIEW: “Tropa de Elite”

Brazil’s “Tropa de Elite” (U.S. title, “The Elite Squad”) is a companion piece to “City of God,” the country’s 2002 dizzying look at life for teen hop heads and drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas.

While not quite reaching the epic status that made “City of God” so exciting, “Tropa de Elite” is a first class kick-to-the-gut nonetheless. 

WHEN AND WHERE: Saturday, May 24, 7 p.m., Ives Concert Hall, WestConn’s downtown campus.

Watch this discussion of the movie, which has been (wrongly) accused of glorifying violence.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M04daAmfm4%5D 

Both movies are based on non-fiction books and share Bráulio Mantovani as screenwriter. While “City of God” dealt with the criminal underworld, “Trop de Elite” deals with the cops who, well, kill the criminals dead.

The story revolves around the captain of a BOPE unit — a paramilitary police unit the cops call when out gunned by the drug dealers, which happens, basically, whenever a cop is foolish enough to enter the neighborhood. 

The captain — a doting dad and a screaming brute whose interrogation techniques include broomsticks and plastic bags — is finally losing his mind after years of violence. He has to choose between two cops new to the squad to be his replacement. 

The film shows the average cop on the street in Brazil is wholly corrupt, which may or may not be better than the members of the elite squad, who don’t take a penny but shed buckets of blood.

Meanwhile, rich, weed-smoking college kids finance a system that ensures blood from the cops and criminals will keep flowing. 

While “City of God” had warm characters you could root for, “Tropa de Elite” has no such dainty touches — for the cops and criminals in Brazil, life is dry rot, the movie says.

See it immediately.

UPDATE: Click here to read a review of the movie by Emanuela Lima of the Tribuna.

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