3.5, Latin America/Spain

Elite Squad

2007 / José Padilha > Regardless of all the nonsense about Elite Squad being a fascist film, I believe it genuinely tries to portray the morally ambiguous mindset of those who have been given the right to uphold peace in one of the worst ghettos in the world. Coming from the man who directed the eye-opening documentary Bus 174, there’s less reason to believe that Padilha would miss a chance to use the world’s stage (as it screened and won at this year’s Berlinale) to make a statement about his country. And his statement is simple: These people live hard lives, filled with decisions that never seem right. The gangsters (as portrayed beautifully on the other side by City of God) are never right. The BOPE, the special police of the favelas shown here, are never right. Then who is? The primary critique towards the film may be its caricatured portrayal of the wealthy, but even that could be argued as a medium via which to further polarize the law enforcement’s viewpoint. The resolution simply makes the battle versus good and evil more indistinct, and sadly, that sort of finality may be the only truth there is.