José Padilha's award winning documentary reconstructs the extraordinary story of the hijacking of Bus 174 - a story that gripped the entire nation of Brazil and one that ended in chaos and devastating tragedy. On 12th June 2000, a bus was hijacked by an armed man in a middle-class residential area Rio de Janeiro and the passengers were held hostage for four-and-a-half hours while police struggled to handle the situation. The perpetrator of the hijack was Sandro do Nascimento, a homeless drug addict and a survivor of the infamous Candelaria massacre of 1993, in which seven street kids were murdered by plainclothes police officers as they and dozens of other homeless children slept near the Candelaria Cathedral in downtown Rio.
A shocking, hypnotic look at a real-life disaster. In June 2000, an armed gunman hijacked a bus in downtown Rio de Janeiro. An angry, strung-out former street kid, he spent an afternoon threatening his hostages while the lurid drama was broadcast live over the national TV networks. The extensive newsreel footage from this terrible event forms the bulk of Bus 174, but director Jose Padilha takes time to fill in the background, too: the poverty-broken world of the gunmen is detailed, and so is the political situation that led to some ludicrous decision-making on the part of the authorities during the siege. The fact that most viewers outside Brazil don't know how the ordeal ended will add to the suspense, but either way this is a gripping experience. The sight of the crazed hijacker, self-consciously styling his weird version of action-movie villainy, will haunt you long after the film is over. --Robert Horton