Saturday, November 13, 2010

Capsule Review: Bus 174 (2002)

imagesA tense stand-off between police and a gunmen who has taken hostages on a bus in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000 becomes a meditation on media, urban violence, prison conditions, political manoeuvring and plenty of other thought-provoking topics in José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda’s incredible documentary. The film continually flashes to the confrontation – shown live on television – as the armed Sandro do Nascimento threatens violence against a group of women, while also examining Sandro’s tragic upbringing and the culture of violence that exists in the street community in which he was raised. The film raises conflicting emotions as you both sympathize and villainize the young man who has experienced so much tragedy in his short life, while your frustration inevitably grows at the police who seem unwilling or unable to do anything to stop the proceedings. Things get unbearably tense as the confrontation comes to a head, and you’ll likely be left shaking your head at what you’ve seen. A thought provoking and powerful film.

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