Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

(2010)

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Review: Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Transcript for Review: Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

CHRISTY LEMIRE:

Next up is the Brazilian crime thriller "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within." It's become the most popular movie ever in South America. It’s already made 63 million dollars worldwide. Wagner Moura returns from the original "Elite Squad" as Captain Nascimento, who oversees a special police battalion. At the film's start, a prison riot breaks out under his watch.
 
That's Irandhir Santos as Fraga, a human rights activist whose fate is intertwined with Nascimento's over the years. Despite the body count that day, the way Nascimento handles the violence earns him a promotion. Suddenly he finds himself as one of Rio's top security officials, at the expense of his personal life.
 
Nascimento is consumed with trying to rid the slums of drugs and gangs, and purge the corruption that plagues Rio's government and police force. But the deeper he digs, the more enemies he makes, and the more danger he finds himself in.
 
This happens to be Brazil's entry in the foreign language category at the Academy Awards. But the constant voiceover is just smothering -- it spells everything out, and it hammers you over the head philosophically. And it didn't need to -- this movie isn't all that complicated. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. I'm conflicted on this but my thumb is ultimately down.
 
IGNATIY VISHNEVESTSKY: My thumb is down, but I think for a different reason.
 
 
CHRISTY: Okay.
 
IGNATIY: The central idea is that they…this whole corrupt system, right, these corrupt cops that they’re really, really bad.  You know that they need to go.  They’re obsolete, but the only people who manage to get anything done in this entire movie are corrupt cops. You get these good corrupt cops and these bad corrupt cops and you know towards the end we’re supposed to have this idea that neither one of them is good for Brazil.
 
CHRISTY:
Right, and the system Nascimento created eats it’s self up.  It devours itself whole. 
 
IGNATIY:
Yeah. There’s some great genre filmmaking that precedes it, but the whole last half hour is incredibly just a disingenuous, grandstanding, pretending to be something of some…
 
CHRISTY:
Pretending to matter…
 
IGNATIY:
Pretending to matter, and therefore, becoming much worse than it really should be.