At times it is both violent and disturbing but it's the characterisation that pulls the film out of the quagmire of generic grittiness and into a class of its own. Rocket (Alexandre Rodriguez) is a naive natural as he strives to salvage a positive future from the most savage of environments. The supporting characters, such as Li'l Ze (Leandro Firmino da Hora) and Benny (Phellipe Haagensen) are equally well fleshed out, to such an extent that we can understand if not empathise with their often excessive actions. Many of the cast were actually residents in the film's location and this adds to the natural feel of proceedings.
Bizarrely this is almost a 'feel good' film for the genre with terrible events shown in stark reality but with ever present seeds of hope sprinkled liberally throughout. Not one for the fainthearted but a rewarding experience nonetheless.