Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
In a cell inside São Paulo's House of Detention, better known as Carandiru, two inmates have a score to settle. The atmosphere is tense. Another inmate, Black Nigger, a kind of "judge" for settling disputes among prisoners, solves the case in time to welcome the Doctor, who has recently arrived--eager to begin an AIDS-prevention program in the penitentiary. The Doctor is faced with extremely serious problems inside this place, known as Latin America's largest jail: overcrowded cells, decaying facilities, diseases such as TB, leptospirosis, cachexia, and the beginnings of an… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"We're served up meaty, often spicy, slices of sadly wasted lives."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"Despite its structural flaws, Carandiru presents more interesting characters than you'd see in a dozen other prison movies."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
""Carandiru" is a soulful movie that eschews glamour and formula to present a thoughtful meditation on an endemic prison reality that reaches far beyond the confines of the richest city in South America."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A searing expose of conditions in the Brazilian penal system."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
""Carandiru" ultimately falls prey to the cliches that pervade so many mediocre prison movies."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"The movie has a tactile reality. You can almost smell it."
‑ Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Babenco brings the place and the prisoners alive."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Carandiru could have been a great prison drama, but it mixed its genres so thoroughly in an attempt to make it entertaining and accessible that I felt it lost its bite."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"...most successful as a anthropological primer on the makeshift societies men erect under duress"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"It has the resonant feel of myth, buoyed by simultaneously vicious and compassionate performances from the men on both sides of the bars."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"Has moments of raw, unflinching power."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"The two-part structure feels inescapably manipulative."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"Humanity struggles out from under a maximally oppressive system, commenting by haunting metaphor on life outside the prison walls."
‑ Martin Scribbs, Low IQ Canadian
"No matter how contrived the format seems at times, every one of the hard-luck tales is violently good pulp."
‑ Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly
"Though Carandiru seems a bit slow, it's actually a 'tease' of sorts, leading up to a riveting and pretty horrifying final 45 minutes."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for Carandiru on Rotten Tomatoes