There's only a certain amount of violence and corruption you can watch before the message gets lost
- The Elite Squad review by RP
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.
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