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Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Wagner Moura, left, in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Wagner Moura, left, in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Back in 2007, former documentarist José Padilha’s ‘Elite Squad’, a pumped-up hybrid of action flick and insider portrait, took us inside Rio’s trigger-happy BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais).

This sequel moves the story on 13 years, opening with a handy précis of its predecessor so newcomers are at no disadvantage. Wagner Moura’s determined Captain Nascimento remains centre stage, his realisation that political muscle is needed to shake the drugs gangs from the favelas prompting him to accept the post of under-secretary of state for security. Initial success, however, throws up a new crisis, revealing the protection rackets operated by bent cops and their political superiors as the real canker in society.

 While the first film came perilously close to endorsing police brutality, this is a more complex affair, the opening caption declaring it a work of fiction barely dissuades us of its authentic bite. Padilha’s facility for creating action scenes of you-are-there intensity grabs the attention, yet his storytelling struggles to keep too many plates spinning at once and by the time we learn the full scale of the conspiracy, momentum is flagging.

That said, the whole thing’s driven by palpable anger to tell it like it is and a pivotal role for a sociology prof offers a degree of ideological light and shade. A thumping modern policier with a social-conscience edge.
Written by Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 12 August 2011
  • Duration:114 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:José Padilha
  • Screenwriter:José Padilha
  • Cast:
    • Wagner Moura
    • Santos Morales
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