Genre Grandeur – Elite Squad (2010) – What About the Twinkie?


intro_clip_image004For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Latin Directors, here’s a review of Elite Squad (2010) by Kieron of What About the Twinkie?

Thanks again to Anna of Film Grimoire for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by James of Back to the Viewer.  We will be reviewing our favorite movies featuring a dystopian world (past or future). Please get me your submissions by 25th April by sending them to dystopia@movierob.net  Try to think out of the box! Great choice James!

Let’s see what Kieron thought of this movie

 

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Director: José Padilha Starring: Wagner Moura, André Ramiro & Caio Junqueira Synopsis: 1997, Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Rating: 18 Run time: 115 minutes

Elite Squad, for all its desires, is a film guilty of putting all its eggs in one basket. The film attempts to deal with the Brazilian drug trade, poverty, corruption, bullying, murder and family all within a two hour running time. Because of this, it tends to lose its way, with some of the more interesting plot points getting drowned out along the way. Despite this, Elite Squad is not a bad film whatsoever, but rather one that feels too disjointed to be truly satisfying.

The story of Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) and his elite squad of BOPA, as they try to take down the various crime lords in operation in Rio’s slums is as gritty as they come. Violence, particularly gun related violence, is a regular occurrence here, with machine guns seemingly being carried by anyone strong enough to hold one. And with the guns provided by crooked cops, who is really going to stand in their way? It’s task best handled by men who don’t mind crossing the line to get the results they want.

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Elite Squad provides a very realistic look at the lives of those living on the frontline of Brazils war on drugs, and none more so than Nascimento, as he searches for a replacement in order for him to be able to spend more time with his wife and their soon to be born child. Nascimento is a ruthless man, and one willing to do whatever it takes to stop the drug war engulfing his country. As we travel with him throughout the film, we see what effect his years of service have had on him. His marriage is on the brink of collapse, while his work life continues to devour him.

While Nascimento is the centre of the film, it is perhaps his two understudies who have the more interesting tales. Matias (André Ramiro) and Neto (Caio Junqueira) are the new recruits of the BOPA, and these young bloods have a far more interesting story to tell. One likely influenced by the likes of The Departed/Infernal Affairs. It is just a shame that these two do not take centre stage more often, as things get a little more fascinating with these two around.

Having (at least) three different stories on the go, is a little too much for director José Padilha to handle, and the narrative does get confusing at times. This can result in some sloppy storytelling, and one very long training sequence seems to take the rhythm out of the film just when it should be building to its brutal finale.

In summary: Elite Squad tries too hard and wants to say so much, that its political and social agenda take precedence over the films narrative. However, the film remains a fascinating look at Brazil and its many problems, and is a fine second effort from José Padilha, with fantastic performances from the main cast.

 

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Thanks Kieron!

2 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Elite Squad (2010) – What About the Twinkie?

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur March Finale – La Cravate (1957) – Film Grimoire |

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