Fernando Meirelles spun this Brazilian series from his deadly flick, City of God. The settings and characters are similar, juxtaposing the life in a favela against the backdrop of gangsters and poverty. The camera trails two gawky kids, Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranhinja (Darlan Cunha) and their coming of age in this harsh surroundings. I was strangely reminded of Malgudi Days when the boys end up in situation that kind of parallel those that Swamy found himself in. But then someone would casually walk by with a gun shoved into his trouser and the illusion would end there. In spite of that the series is light hearted and has a streak of humor running through.
The film takes off with Acerola and Laranhinja about to turn 18. But the unlike the series the mood here is more darker and the violence seen in City of God creeps into the characters and storyline as the young men find themselves helplessly being sucked into the vortex of a gang war.
Rating: * * *