It’s another morning in Phoenix, Arizona in a quiet suburban neighbourhood.
But if you’re one of the poor central american immigrants that has crossed the border illegally looking for your piece of the American Dream, the nightmare of making it across is just beginning. Director Felipe Rodriguez puts you right in that claustrophobic room where a dozen or so human beings are held prisoner in Kidnap Capital. This is one of those films where all you want to do is to leave in the first fifteen minutes, and then you find you can’t. You need to see this one through.
The kidnappers want money, plain and simple. Call your loved ones, call your hate ones, call anybody you know and get them money. The more to stay, the more money they want and the worst it’s going to get. Hungry, stripped to their underwear and fearing for their life, the victims don’t see a way out. Manolo (Jonathan Sousa) is twice in trouble, as he knows that his wife Elena (Michelle Arvizu) is somewhere else in the house – pregnant with his child. Can they all make it out? Can he trust gangster Rico (Michael Reventar) to cooperate? There’s more than one person with a secret in the group. One of them might hold the key to getting them out, while others will just mess things up further.
The regular parts of the house are inhabited by lead coyote Wyler (Paulino Nunes) along with his wife and baby daughter. They’re trying to keep a normal life in the surface, but expect little empathy from them and even less from the other coyoteros. Meanwhile, outside all things are normal as neighbours walk around, planning barbecues and watering their lawns. Felipe Rodriguez brings an unhealthy dosage of reality horror to Fantasia, exposing wide open what illegal immigrants go through as they are coerced for cash and beaten within an inch of their lives.
Highs: A visceral movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat as the situation starts at the worst and doesn’t let up. Superb performances by the cast. The characters are diverse and believable.
Lows: The only suspension of disbelief is the numerous coincidences that take place, giving us a few twists that make a big difference in the end. The feeling that you are left is not a comforting one, it shouldn’t be. Realism might not be your cup of tea.
Recommended because of strong performances and great storytelling. This time, we’re not leaving the realm of the realistic to find suspense, it’s right in someone’s neighbourhood. The ending has a twist to temper it down. In real life, it would have been brutal without mercy.
Possibly coming up if I don’t change my mind:
- Saturday, July 30: Bakuman (Japan).
- Sunday, July 31: Train to Busan (Japan) / Before I Wake (USA).
- Wednesday, August 3: Don’t Breathe (USA).
That will do for now.