Patrolling the same sun-blasted slums as City Of God and Favela Rising, José Padilha’s pitiless policier offers yet more compelling reasons to avoid certain parts of Rio.
Here, life is dirt-cheap, drugs are endemic and the only cops untouched by corruption are members of the Bope, a government death squad in all but name.
With hearts as black as their shirts, and initiation tests that make Full Metal Jacket’s boot camp look like Butlin’s, these trained killers are charged with securing peace for a papal visit.
Their solution? Wholesale slaughter. A colder film than its more compassionate cousins, but a far cry from the fascist apology some have labelled it, Elite Squad detachedly documents the unwinnable war between the slumlords and the state.
If it’s hard to watch, that’s not because it has no answers and no hope. Extras comprise an incisive director’s interview and trailer.