Elite Squad

This is the first time I’ve recommended a movie to watch (I usually go for documentaries), but this is a must see.

Elite Squad, set in the slums of Rio in 1997, claims to be based on a true story and whether or not the details of the characters are true, the tale of corruption from police to politician depict a universal truth. This movie was actually recommended to me by the daughter of a Brazilian police officer who marveled at its accurate depiction of government corruption in Brazil, though of course I don’t think Brazil has an exclusive on mass corruption, especially during the Drug War epoch.

Elite Squad is gripping as a story, despite the beating of subtitles.  Specifically, however, I recommend the movie because of its realistic demonstration that politicians only care about votes (even to the point that “collateral damage” is only a question of media reaction and not of morality), and also for the way it demonstrates the mechanics of the corruption across institutions. Elite Squad is so deeply true it seems rather to display a template than a tale.

My only objection to the movie is that it portrays government corruption and immorality as a characteristic more natural to the right than the left. I really am sick and tired of the ever-present message in movies like this: the left is inherently well-meaning and the right is greedy, power-hungry and murderous. This message, and to some extent this movie, misses the real truth: neither end of the political spectrum is for the people, only for the party and the politician. This common misperception as well as the underlying truth are evident in this contradiction: Barack Obama has a Nobel Peace Prize and a Kill List.

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