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Elite Squad: The Enemy Within review

Tense thriller about the struggle against police corruption in Brazil

Beginning with a bloodbath and concluding, “The system is resilient. Many people will die,” José Padilha’s impressive sequel – Brazil’s highest-grossing domestic film ever – is part political thriller, part pummelling polemic.

Anchored by police lieutenant Wagner Moura’s intrusive voiceover, it pits his brutal pragmatism against Irandhir Santos’ idealism, only for both to fail as vicious government militias become mafias.

Confusing and compelling, it appears to advocate fascism, but is simply begging, “What the hell else can we do?”

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Matt Glasby is a freelance film and TV journalist. You can find his work on Total Film - in print and online - as well as at publications like the Radio Times, Channel 4, DVD REview, Flicks, GQ, Hotdog, Little White Lies, and SFX, among others. He is also the author of several novels, including The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film and Britpop Cinema: From Trainspotting To This Is England.