Crime pays, artistically

I finally got to see the ‘City of God’ this weekend. The movie has tons of style, that’s for sure. The stylized violence in the movie did nothing to detract the message. The movie spans across 3 decades, and narrates the interconnected stories of hoods in the slums of Rio do Janeiro and people who are trying to get out of there. The film is based on a true story, and shines a light on the sordid lives of people on the wrong side of the wealth gap.

Movies about organized crime always seem to be critically acclaimed(Godfather is the obvious example). Is it the need to vicariously satisfy our instinct for vice that makes us like these movies? CoG shows us the violence that is bred out of lawlessness and poverty in slums, a situation that could very well be happening at Dharavi everyday. In fact, the movie reminded me a lot of ‘Satya’. (Of course, we Indians had to milk the bhai-log-cow and start making suck-ass movies like ‘Company’ or whatever it is Vivek Oberoi was in…)

CoG also managed to break one of the taboos that prevail in film-making — that of depicting young ‘uns being shot in the leg at close range. The scene is definitely one of the most harrowing in the movie.

For anyone who entertained doubts about CoG being the inspiration for the crapfest called ‘Ayutha Ezhuthu’, they can rest at ease knowing that CoG is more like the first half of ‘Nayagan’ than the one where Maniratnam tries to Shankarize himself.
(Shankarize – now that’s a good word for empty-style masquerading as message…)