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City of God Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 130 Mins
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Miramax/Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 13, 2011
  • List Price: $19.99

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BestBuy.com:
City of God - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

Purchase City of God on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

[Editor’s Note: Portions of this review were previously published as our City of God [UK Release] Blu-ray Review. All screen captures were taken from their respective releases.]

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

A sweeping condemnation of the isolation of poverty and how it sows the seeds of hopelessness, despair, and ultimately crime, City of God is set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro far from the glamor of the bikinis and sparkling beaches the city is known for the world over. From the 1960s through the 1980s it tells of the derelict slums outside of the city from which the film takes its title and a group of friends who will grow to both rule over its crime and die because of it.

Starting with a simple robbery of a whorehouse by a gang of friends calling themselves The Tender Trio, in the 1960s, City of God then goes on to tell how those friends would come to their demise at the hands of the law and jealous husbands through the words of Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), a resident of the City and friend and sibling to its criminal element, but a dreamer who wants no part of the crime. All Rocket wants is to be a photographer and to lose his virginity to the beautiful Angelica (Alice Braga). But growing up amongst “hoods,” Rocket can’t keep from getting drawn into their madness.

When the young, murderous Lil’ Zé (Leandro Firmino) returns a grownup killer, his implicity in the deaths at the whorehouse robbery and subsequent killings of the Tender Trio are revealed. Lil Zé, now wants to rule the City’s crime along with his friend Benny (Phellipe Haagensen) and he does, after killing all his competition. When Benny dies, being the only one keeping Zé from really going crazy, the blood and bullets start to really rain down. Of course, Rocket, now a real photographer, is once again caught in the crossfire of a full-on gang war that seems like it will never end.

City of God is an absolutely riveting crime drama every bit as gritty and violent as Goodfellas or others on the genre. This is not to be missed by anyone who likes a good crime film every so often.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

This transfer of City of God looks nearly identical to the recently reviewed StudioCanal Miramax release from the UK, the main differences being that this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement is framed at 1.78:1 versus the previous UK release’s 1.85:1 framing, and it also looks somewhat smoother in most of the scenes. Otherwise, the color timings, contrast, and issues with DNR in places that I noted in the UK release still remain.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is offered up and sounds just as good as the UK release. It is equally atmospheric, capturing the din of the Rio slums with weighty and directional gunfire, natural sounding high frequencies and clean dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

This U.S. Release loses one of the supplements from its UK counterpart but keeps one, News from a Personal War (1.33:1; 480i/60; 00:56:42), which chronicles the real-life drug trafficking and gang wars in Brazil.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Emotional, intense, and realistic, City of God takes you into the depths of hell and you can only pray that you’ll get out unscathed. This is a masterpiece of crime and violence – but the U.S. Blu-ray release still fails to live up to expectations, even coming in a notch below the U.K. Version for altering the framing, looking a bit softer and having even less extras.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005Q4CKLC[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
City of God - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

Purchase City of God on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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