Elite Squad (18)

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A glimpse of hell. José Padilha's drama recreates a police operation in 1997 to clean up one of Rio's most violent favelas in time for a visit from the Pope.

Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) wants out of the city's elite BOPE squad – his wife's having their first child – but first he must groom his replacement. As he trains up two young candidates, the full horror of law- enforcement in the slums is made apparent: the methods adopted by BOPE prove to be as brutal as the gangsterism they're intended to fight.

Padilha gets as close to the daily violence as City of God, though this feels more like a documentary than an epic. It's also profoundly depressing in its presentation of a war with no end in view, and of men whose pursuit of justice almost invariably comes from the point of a gun.

Watch the Elite Squad trailer