While American kids are safely tucked away with the latest technologies, multiple episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants”, and coddling by their parents, children in Mexico take an entirely different turn in their entertainments, a kind that is almost like the traditional “Cops and Robbers” here, but it’s easy to suspect that some of these kids would actually get involved in “Cops and Robbers” when they grow up. That’s not such a major issue here, as it is enough to be exposed to the rich culture of Mexico which culminates in a trip to the markets for two boys, picking up a paper-mache devil and walking it throughout the city, bringing it back to their place to beat the s**t out of it.
Jean-Stephane Sauvaire is well-aware of cinema verite and what it can do for film, and he constantly keeps the camera with the gaggle of kids running around and “shooting” at each other. There’s an outstanding moment where the paper-mache devil is punched furiously and the camera reflects those punches. The most obvious comparison that will probably be made to “Matalo!” is Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God”, but consider this the kind of film to go to if “City of God” sounds too intense for you or if you saw it and didn’t feel at all good after seeing it. “Matalo!” makes the most out of being intimately involved with these kids by the camera. We see their actions so jarringly clear that by the end, it has not only been exciting, emotional, and riveting, but something to admire for years to come.