It was a delightful day when I learned that even after I finished watching the City of Men series, there was a movie. That could be good or bad. Most movies made to follow a series are rarely spectacular. You get your fix but you aren't wowed. Nonetheless, I moved this one to the top of my Netflix queue.
It picks up where the series left off. Oddly, the characters' names have changed in the subtitles. Acerola is now called Ace. Laranjinha is now Wallace (yes, Wallace). Madrugadão is now Midnight. Baby Clayton is now Clinton. The two, both on the cusp of 18, are still boys in men's bodies. Ace continues the struggle with his daddy duties and Wallace has accelerated his quest to find his father. The absent dad situation was a recurring theme in the series and in the movie, it has taken leading role. The boys have been like brothers and, at times, they've supported one another the way a father might. Here, Ace and Wallace learn details about the friendship their own fathers shared. As Wallace meets his dad and more tales are unearthed, the boys' relationship deteriorates. What will happen when they learn the truth?
At the same time, the favela experiences a coup d'état and Midnight, the ruling drug lord, has been ousted. This coup further affects their strained friendship. Will the lifelong friends end up going their separate ways?
Cidade de Homens The Movie is an amicable Dear John letter to its loyal fans. It offers a satisfying resolution that brings you to the cinematic climax of an era that began with the City of God and reigned through the series. As you watch the two main characters age, you are left hoping you don't see them again, at least not in the form of Acerola and Laranjinha. RIP.
Themes: friendship, absent fathers, teenage parents, favela life, gang war
Director: Paulo Morelli
Minutes: 106 minutes