It is 1997 and hundreds of thousands live in Rio’s notorious favelas. Drug trafficking militias have complete control within the slums while the police run their criminal enterprises outside. The elite Bope force fights to combat drug trafficking, but kiiping order has its price and their actions blur the line between right and wrong, justice and revenge. Two of the force's newest recruits, Neto (Caio Junqueira) and Matias (Andr Ramiro), are childhood friends: one is quick on the trigger to maintain order and the other refuses to compromise his ideals. Together they are the perfect replacement. Alone they may not have what it takes to survive.
The film was originally developed as a documentary but soon became a reasonable fictional account. Based on stories from real cops and dealers it's amazing viewing from the perspective of how out of control the slums are. The Elite Squad reside above the normal police force who ridden with widespread corruption. The Elite Squad methods are military and extreme to say the least, but the odds and dangers they face are considerable. I really enjoyed this film, it does not hold back or take prisoners. It could have done with a little more of the Captain's home life and the effects of being in the BOPE. Yet as a rights of passage and a glimpse of law and order in Brazil, it makes for fantastic viewing.
There's only a certain amount of violence and corruption you can watch before the message gets lost
- The Elite Squad review by RP
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You rated this film: 3
It's a Brazilian police action thriller, told in a semi-documentary style, about fighting violent drug gangs with violent police tactics.
It's won shed loads of award in S America and has been a huge commercial success - but to these Brit eyes it goes over the top. There's definitely no subtlety here!
Apparently, the regular cops are so corrupt that a special 'elite' force (BOPE) has been set up. Heavily armed, highly trained, ultra tough, heavily indoctrinated to put incorruptibility, their comrades, their creed above all else - their job is to shoot drug dealers.
Set in the period before the Pope's 1997 visit, the task in hand is to clear out drug dealing gangs from a favela in Rio so the Pope can visit in safety. Woven in with this is the story of a burned out BOPE major, Nascimento, who wants to retire. New police recruits Neto and Matias experience the corruption of the regular police and volunteer for BOPE where they undergo brutal training. Nascimento first selects Neto as squad leader and his successor, but he is killed. Nascimento then selects Matias, who doesn't fail him… Clear as mud?
This is a brutal film where the drug dealers and the Elite Squad are heavily armed and carry out their task using violence and torture. Frankly, if this is a realistic view of everyday life in Rio I don't fancy a trip there - but if violent cop stories are your thing, give it a watch. 3/5 stars - it's not bad, but you can only watch a certain amount of violence and corruption before the message gets lost… Not for the squeamish.