Like Dirty Harry with a social conscience, the Brazilian film Elite Squad: The Enemy Within manages to kick all kinds of righteous ass while delving into the pernicious effect of corruption on those allegedly pledged with looking after the public welfare. The follow-up to 2007′s Elite Squad, Enemy Within picks up Rio de Janeiro's hard-line Special Operations Captain Nascimento as he's kicked upstairs to become Sub-Secretary of Intelligence and committed to upending the city's cycle of crime by waging all-out war on the gangs who rule the slums. Problem is: The war is too successful, and Nascimento finds his victory has released a wave of official corruption that puts him into conflict with his own colleagues.
Director José Padilha built his reputation with the incredible hostage documentary Bus 174, and here demonstrates that the skills that turned news footage into riveting drama are well suited to telling a fictional story that delves into the dark corners of Brazilian society while keeping the audience riveted with intense action.
Click on the player to hear my conversation with Padilha.