Elite Squad is a gritty depiction of the drug war conducted in the slums of Brazil from the perspective of BOPE, a Special Police Operations Battalion that has no qualms taking the lives of drugrunners and crooked cops alike. Early on it is particularly fascinating in its insight into some of the sociological, judicial and economical complexities of widespread corruption, almost comical if it wasn’t so frightening.
The film is a little messy in its structure, and the narration is lathered on much too thick, making it especially disappointing to learn that director José Padilha changed the initial focus and added the narration in post-shoot. It certainly feels a little aimless as it draws to a close, and I wonder whether this may have been avoided if Padilha had stuck to the original script. Still, Elite Squad is highly recommended to anyone interested in the complicated marriage of law and lawlessness in the favela.