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Fernando Meirelles's City of God (2002) turned plenty of heads with its harsh look at the mountain slums of Rio de Janeiro; now that it's spawned the TV series City of Men and this big-screen follow-up, the focus has shifted from the setting to the characters. Two pals (Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha, who played feral youths in the original movie) do their best to stay on the sidelines as the slum's reigning gang is rent by insurrection; meanwhile, one of them tries to track down the father he never knew and the other wrestles with the responsibility of being a father himself. The story might have been lifted from an old Warner Brothers melodrama, though it's smartly paced, sincerely delivered, and consistently absorbing. Meirelles produced and Paulo Morelli, a veteran of the TV show, directed. R, 110 min.

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