In 1997, before the visit of the pope to Rio de Janeiro, Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) from the elite squad BOPE (Special Police Operation Battalion) is assigned to eliminate the risks of the drug dealers in a dangerous slum nearby where the pope intends to be lodged. Captain Nascimento is trying to find a man to replace him because his wife is pregnant and he intends to quit the command and become a trainer of the new recruits. Meanwhile, the two idealistic friends Neto (Caio Junqueira) and Matias (André Ramiro) join the Military Police force expecting to become honest policemen and fight the criminals. However, they see only corruption, lack of competence and efficiency, manipulation of data and stupid bureaucracy in the Military Police, and after a serious incident in the Morro da Babilônia, they decide to join the BOPE. The lives of Capitain Nascimento, Neto and Matias are entwined along the next months, first in the tough training period and then in action against drug dealers. Nascimento believes that Neto could be his substitute, but his impulsive attitudes jeopardize his choice. Later, the intelligent Matias seems to be the correct choice, but he needs to prove that he has heart.
"Tropa de Elite" is the most impressive and realistic movie I have ever seen about the police forces in Rio de Janeiro and the role of the society in Brazil. In a city surrounded by more than seven hundred slums, actually lands without law and ruled by drug lords, this movie depicts the corruption of dirty policemen, the incorrect behavior of part of the society and the importance of the BOPE, a team of well trained men that can be compared to the American SWAT. The narrative in off of Captain Nascimento follows his saga, showing an obstinate man divided between his professionalism and love for his career and his family; Neto, an impulsive and honest military policeman, but not smart to be a leader; and Matias, who is studying in law school and is very intelligent and also honest, but is not totally committed with his responsibilities of policeman. The story is so realistic that seems to be a documentary with scenes very well choreographed. The direction of José Padilha is simply outstanding, using a magnificent screenplay and excellent actors and actresses. In an inevitable comparison with "Cidade de Deus" ("City of God"), these movies complement each other. "Cidade de Deus" discloses the lives of criminals, and "Tropa de Elite" of policemen and part of the society. This movie should be nominated to the Oscar, but unfortunately what the Academy usually selects does not correspond to the best of the cinema. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Tropa de Elite" ("Elite Squad")
Obs: (a) On 29 September 2007, I saw this outstanding movie again with a group of friends and family.
(b) "Tropa de Elite" was awarded with the Golden Bear of the Berlin Festival on 16 February 2008.
(c) The DVD is scheduled to be released on 28 February 2008.
(d) Many expressions used in this movie ("Aspira" ("Ensign"), "Bota no Saco" ("Put in the Plastic Bag"), "Pede Para Sair" ("Ask to Get Out"), "Você é Moleque Não é Caveira" ("You Are a Kid, not a Skull") etc.) have been incorporated in Brazilian Popular Culture.
(e) "Bota no Saco" ("Put in the Plastic Bag") the Brazilian Commission that has not selected this movie to dispute a nomination to the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language category.