Tropa de Elite [Elite Squad] (2007)

Tropa de Elite
Director: José Padilha
Writer: José Padilha, Bráulio Mantovani, Rodrigo Pimentel
Based on: Elite da Tropa by Rodrigo Pimentel, André Batista, Luiz Eduardo Soares
Cast: Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira, André Ramiro, Milhem Cortaz

1997. Rio’s slums are overrun with drug criminality and the overly challenged and underfunded police turns to bribery and crime in general. And whenever the police can’t handle things anymore, the BOPE (Special Operations Force) gets called in to save the day by basically shooting everyone involved. Nascimento (Wagner Moura) is one of the Captains of BOPE. When his wife becomes pregnant, Nascimento wants to quit BOPE – but not before he can find his own replacement.

Tropa de Elite is a pretty disturbing film. It pretty much shows what happens when the system doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to and in the place of functioning police force you get a bunch of psychopaths who feel they are on a mission for society. It’s not pretty.

Tropa de Elite is an intelligent film, but it’s extremely brutal and really harsh. When I was finished I was immediately questioning my decision to watch Part 2 at the Viennale, but in the end I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to brutal movies, so I do have my ticket.

And apart from the brutality, it was a beautifully shot film – I really loved the cinematography. And the soundtrack was really cool. And the cast was great.

The only thing that I found slightly annoying was the continuous voice over. I could have done with a little less of that.

I went into the movie knowing that it was criticized for being too fascistic and I expected I don’t know what. But honestly – you have to entirely misconstrue the movie to come away with the impression that Nascimento is not a complete psychopath, let alone a good guy or that the BEPO are something you’d want to join or even have in your country in any capacity. Who sees the brutality, the hazing, Nascimento’s narcissism and thinks, “that’s awesome?” or “the moviemakers want us to think that’s awesome, how sick!” No one, that’s who. [Except maybe Nascimento himself who is on the mission to create his own doppelganger.] In short, that criticism is entirely misplaced in my opinion.

And to think that it’s based on facts is all kinds of worrying.

Summarising: If you can stomach the violence, watch it.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.