(No longer in theaters)
Feb 29, 2008
Set in Rio de Janeiro, City of Men is a quasi-sequel to the international smash City of God and has a similar mix of grit and bleached-out stylization. But the director, Paulo Morelli, isn’t an action virtuoso like his predecessor, Fernando Meirelles (who co-produced here). Morelli has a more insistent message. High up on “Dead End Hill,” Ace (Douglas Silva), the 18-year-old who forgot his tiny son at the beach, grew up without a father and can barely bring himself to sort-of look after his child. His best friend, Wallace (Darlan Cunha), also grew up without a father—and decides it’s time to track him down. There’s no one who can step in and protect the pair from a senseless gang war in which the shooting seems almost as natural (and indiscriminate) as partying. City of Men is clunky and often contrived, but there’s something haunting about fatherless boys in a blighted place fumbling to teach themselves what it means to be a man.