Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (aka Tropa de Elite 2: O Inimigo Agora é Outro) review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
‘Elite Squad 2’ (Tropa de Elite 2) is the follow-up to 2007’s hit ‘Elite Squad’, winner of the Golden Bear at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. In ‘Elite Squad 2’, 10 years has passed but still on the case is Roberto Nascimento (Wagner Moura), leader of Rio de Janeiro’s special military police unit BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais). In it, Nascimento patrols Brazil’s favelas and slums, on a mission to put an end to drug trafficking. Trouble is not only are criminals running the drug trade – Nascimento discovers that corrupt politicians and dirty cops are willing and able participants, too.
‘Elite Squad 2’ is the the all-time box-office and highest-grossing film in Brazil, even beating James Cameron’s 3-D behemoth ‘Avatar’! This is no small feat from a locally-produced film, and it has the right to that title since ‘Elite Squad 2’ has tight storytelling, compelling characters, and riveting action sequences; particularly, its chase sequences in and out of the favelas make for great film making. The chase sequences alone makes it a one-of-a-kind thriller.
In the vein of ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Departed’ (sure, throw in TV’s ‘The Wire’), ‘Elite Squad 2’ is directed by José Padilha (‘Bus 174’), an ingénue when it comes to crime thrillers. More than an action movie, ‘Elite Squad 2’ has more depth than what usually Hollywood offers. There is a premium on plot here and you always have to be on your toes because it’s unapologetic when it comes to reeling you in. The drama works too; this time drawing from real-life scandals in Brazil involving public figures and criminals alike.
Wagner Moura as the lead intelligence officer has the tough cop down pat but also showcases nuanced tenderness especially with his relationship with his teenage son. You get a sense that even if he subscribes to duty before everything else – all police business – he has a personal stake in the matter. After all, it’sRio de Janeiro, their homestead and if Moura’s Nascimento makes good for the community, ditto for his son. ‘Elite Squad 2’ is definitely a must-see.