Stories for April 12, 2008
Ten-year old Mauro (Michel Joelsas) loves soccer (or football as it's referred to outside the U.S.) but he's oblivious to the his country's political upheavals. On this particular day, his parents, Daniel (Eduardo Moreira) and Miriam (Simone Spoladore) are behaving strangely; they seem nervous and agitated. They hustle Mauro into the car and abruptly head off to Sao Paulo. They explain that they will be going on vacation but that Mauro will have to stay with his grandfather M & oacute;tel (even though his family has never been close with the grandfather). His parents promise that they will return before Brazil plays in the World Cup Final. When the parents arrive in the grandfather's old Jewish/Italian neighborhood, they quickly leave Mauro on the street and rush off. Mauro is confused, although the audience is likely to sense the adults' tension and infer that the parents are fleeing from the oppressive government.
Caught between Captain Wander (Whitaker) and Captain Biggs (Laurie) is LAPD Vice Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves). From the start of the film we know he's a corrupt cop and one of Wander's boys. The film opens with him setting up some thugs to be killed and then "fixing" the crime scene. Sure he's doing it for a good reason - like Dirty Harry he's trying to rescue kidnapped girls - but he's definitely bending the rules to get the job done. At the crime scene, his ex-partner, an African American cop named Washington (Terry Crews), challenges him and questions his methods. The guys he killed may have been scum, he says, but they had rights. The incident, combined with another murder and a series of other dubious activities soon place Ludlow under the close scrutiny of Biggs. This makes Wander nervous because Ludlow has been his attack dog for years and has enough dirt to bury the captain and the other cops on the team. It doesn't take long for things to spiral out of control with Ludlow uncertain about who he can trust, if anyone.