"Elite Squad: The Enemy Within"
Release Date: Dec. 9, 2011
Running Time: 124 minutes
No wonder Jose Padiha assumed control of the upcoming RoboCop reboot following the departure of Darren Aronofsky: hisElite Squad: The Enemy Within unfolds as an aggressively smart, politically explosive Brazilian thriller that matches the tension and fury of its 2007 predecessor. Then there’s The Enemy Within’s unexpected but welcomed Verhoevenian satirical bent. The presence of a talk-show host, who bellows his disgust and outrage at the crime that blights Rio de Janeiro, serves as much-needed comic relief from the film’s grim events. It all begins with Lt. Col. Roberto Nascinmento, who is once again played with justifiably indignation by Wagner Moura. The head of Rio de Janeiro’s incorruptible unit of the city’s military police, Nascinmento is kicked upstairs after politicians accuse him of mishandling a prison riot. Before the drugs dealers in the slums can celebrate the removal of their longtime nemesis, they themselves are overthrown and replaced by corrupt cops seizing on an opportunity to make a lot of money. Nascinmento and his former right-hand man Matias (Andre Ramiro) have no idea what’s going on until things start to heat up in the slums. As with the first Elite Squad,The Enemy Within casts a critical eye at the rocky relationship that exists everywhere between law enforcement agencies, politicians and the two sides’ hard-fought battle for the minds of the media and the hearts of the public. This time, though, Padiha takes the stand that the only way to truly eradiate crime, especially the drug trade, is to set aside politics and work together to solve the problem. So, in The Enemy Within, the fascistic Nascinmento is forced to partner with a socialist politician to bring down the cops now running the slums. It’s wishful thinking on Padiha’s part that the politics can be removed from the fight against crime, especially in a country like Brazil where corruption is rampant, and he even acknowledges this to some extent at the end of The Enemy Within. But there’s no harm in putting the idea out there. Even if the message of The Enemy Within will be lost on those who should heed it the most, there’s no denying this enraged sequel perfectly establishes Padiha as a director suited to revive a similarly themed franchise that’s been dormant for two decades. Regardless of whether you like the idea of rebooting RoboCop, it’s comforting to know it’s going to be in good hands.
Aired: Dec. 8, 2011
Web site: http://www.variancefilms.com/elitesquadfilmpage.html