ENTERTAINMENT/FILM

An Urban Review Of
“Sangre De Mi Sangre”

BLOOD OF MY BLOOD (SANGRE DE MI SANGRE (unrated)

Movie Biases:
None.

Major Players:
Armando Hernandez, Jorge Adrian Espindola, Jesus Ochoa, Paola Mendoza, and writer/director Christopher Zalla

Logline:
After sharing confidences in a trailer during their illegal trek from Mexico to New York, smiling, amoral slickster Juan (Hernandez) steals Pedro’s (Espindola) identity, posing as the long lost son to gruff, aging restaurant dishwasher Diego (Ochoa). Pedro is left to track down his father in the vastness of the city, with only the help of selfish prostitute Magda (Mendoza) at his disposal.

The Deal:
“The world is harsh.”

If there’s a single frame in Zalla’s somber but impressive debut that uses a klieg light, I’d never know it. Focusing on a harrowing aspect of the illegal immigrant experience, “Sangre” doesn’t have a decently lit shot in the movie, capturing a virtual walking tour of NYC’s grimy underclass underbelly during Pedro’s search for his father.

Penniless after having been swindled by lazy confidence man Juan, Espindola’s Pedro exudes genuine fear when confronted with the enormity of the Big Apple and its inhospitality. Not only is he a total naïf, but illiterate to boot. Yet, his hell-bent search against all odds for a father he’s never known is endearing as all get-out. Armando Hernandez gives a true and excellently drawn performance. His inveterate, grinning liar Juan is truly despicable.

Never having endured a hard day’s work in his life, Juan cons his way through life with a randy yet youthful vigor that slowly begins to thaw the considerable iceberg exterior that thesp Ochoa’s set up for his Diego. He’s a skilled, sedentary cheapskate with nary a life outside of work.

Paola Mendoza, with a trashy, Marisa Tomei-on-crack appeal, is fairly revelatory as cynical Magda, a junkie who will do anything for (and teaches Pedro the value of) “fifty bucks.” They forge an unlikely (and expensive) alliance to find his dad, a marriage of inconvenience that yields some unexpectedly touching results.

It’s shocking, too. The powerful, indie-centric end comes simultaneously as both surprise and heartbreak. “Blood of My Blood” is a solid, affecting film. Just watch with Prozac.

@@@ REELS
(THREE REELS)

It’s pretty hot - go give it a shot.

UTC critic Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for The 213 Magazine, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com where his new novel I DO? is available NOW.


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