Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Cagalera (Benny Emmanuel) and Moloteco (Gabriel Carbajal) want to leave their impoverished lives behind. Cagalera is living in the shadow of an abusive alcoholic father and Moloteco lives alone in a ramshackle house that could blow over at any minute. They need money badly, and must continually look for new and more dangerous ways to find it.
In his second Feature behind the camera, Gael García Bernal delivers an intense and uncompromising vision of life in a Mexican slum. It is a character study that is equal parts raw and intimate, rarely taking a breath in-between all of the chaos that ensues. And while I admire his gritty approach, I am not quite sure what Bernal was striving for with how obscene and grotesque some elements of the Film are. For one, the violence is vicious and often shocking just for the sake of it. For another, the dialogue seems disingenuous and mean-spirited. I would forgive these faults if there was more than a brief hint or two of introspection. Do not get me wrong, Emmanuel and Carbajal are positively luminous in their roles. But the Script by Augusto Mendoza could and should have done them more favours.
CHICUAROTES screens during TIFF at the following times:
Tuesday September 10, 9:15pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Wednesday September 11, 6:15pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Friday September 13, 5:15pm @ Scotiabank Theatre