In a week when people are openly asking how best to police our streets, this Brazilian cop epic poses searching questions about gang culture and the dangers of state-sponsored violence.
The original Elite Squad won several awards but took some flak for glamorising the methods of BOPE, Brazil’s paramilitary police.
Writer/director José Padilha aims this more complex, narration-heavy sequel squarely at his critics.
Lt Col Nascimento (Wagner Moura) is reinstated but the brutal BOPE is now contrasted with human rights campaigner Diogo Fraga (Irandhir Santos). The first film’s narrow canvas also expands to explore the connections between slum votes and corrupt politicians.
As events unfold, it is Nascimento who comes to understand how badly he has misjudged the system. The result is a more balanced and satisfying story that’s still punctuated by heart-stopping action and eye-popping violence.
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