January 16, 2002 [City of God]
The wild boys of Rio in City of God are also stuck--although the movie gives them light and jangled energy and endless escape-route alleys and, as the bad guy says in Robocop, "Guns, guns, so many guns." It's shot--so to speak--with humor and excitement--cocaine-fueled, eventually, with bodies piling up while the kid who just wants to take photographs scrambles over the growing heap like one smart cat, slipping out from under just in time. Everyone wants to compare this to Goodfellas--me, too. But the romance of being a gangster in City of God is a kid's hard-on, sudden and unreasonable and too quick on the draw. The older they get, the more these boys slow down, easy targets for up-and-comers.
I don't see Carolina--she's back at her tin shack, boiling water and scrounging for a little sugar. The movie, meanwhile, just wants at least one lost boy to grow up and get out--while new kids on the block figure out better ways to cut out the middleman--and their friends and their friends' friends and their families and anyone else--OK, just like Henry Hill's NYC goodfellas, but without the good seats at the Copa.