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City of God [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English HOH
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Classification: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray )
  • Studio: Miramax/StudioCanal UK
  • Run Time:
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 19, 2011
  • RRP: £24.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005EKHEFK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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)

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:3/5]

The very early scenes in this AVC 1080p/24 encodement look rather strange, as if there is some sort of overuse of DNR going on and application of edge enhancement. One can see it in the backgrounds like the wooden planks of fences where grain sort of looks artificially sharp and doesn’t quite move with the camera pans and edges of faces and objects pop into the foreground unnaturally. The scene where the guys are hiding in the forest and there is a closeup on a leaf really shows this artificial look. Then, things settle down and the film’s grain structure takes on a natural appearance with only little source damage here and there, but there are still instances of color banding and slight posterization in dark areas that hamper some scenes.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is very atmospheric and it does a rather strong job capturing the general din of the slums while gunfire sounds beefy and has good directionality. Dialogue is clean and, I would say intelligible, but I don’t speak Portuguese.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The supplements are very thin here with nothing but two standard definition featurettes, the first of which chronicles the real-life drug trafficking and gang wars in Brazil while the second is a brief interview with director Fernando Meirelles.

The supplements on this release are:

  • News from a Personal War (1.33:1; PAL; 00:56:40)
  • A Conversation with Fernando Meirelles (1.33:1; PAL; 00:10:28)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

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 – if only the Blu-ray release lived up to expectations.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005EKHEFK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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