Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: La Mission

Grade: A-

Che Rivera has lived in the Mission district of San Fransisco all of his life. He learned early on that you have to be tough in order to survive. He is a reformed inmate and a recovering alcoholic. Now, he’s a much respected man in the Mission district who drives a bus for a living, but lives to build and customize beautiful lowrider cars. He works hard to do right by his son, Jesse, who he loves more than anything. In the Mission, people live strongly through tradition and faith. However, Che’s path to redemption and his belief in tradition is tested greatly when he discovers that his son is gay. Che then is forced to chose between the safety of his son in the neighborhood or keeping his life longs beliefs.

This movie was a very pleasant surprise. I expected it to be boring and uninteresting but the movie took a direction I wasn’t expecting. Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality, TVs Law and Order) stars in the lead role of Che Rivera. Bratt’s performance was outstanding and probably the best of his career. La Mission is written and directed by Benjamin’s brother, Peter Bratt. Peter did an amazing job with this movie. The real star of the movie is the Mission district itself and the lowrider culture that Che and his family and friends invest so much time in. The scenery is great and I really enjoy the way that the movie was shot. Not to mention that the cars are breathtaking, really moving pieces of art.

This movie is actually a wonderful character study. Che is a very tough man from growing up in a rough district. He learned how to survive by using his fists. He is and always has been very religious. As a result of all of this, he doesn’t know how to handle the fact that his son is gay and bursts out, violently at times. Jesse, played extremely well by Jeremy Ray Valdez, is a somewhat typical hardworking teen. He is working hard to graduate from high school so he can go on to college at UCLA. Now, he is just trying to make it out of the Mission as it isn’t exactly a gay friendly neighborhood. Throughout the movie, you really connect and feel for all of the characters involved.

I really have to recommend that if you get the opportunity, to go check out La Mission. It is an extremely well made movie with a wonderful story. The look into the lowrider culture is a lot of fun too. Really, my only complaint is that the ending is a little drawn out, other than that it's great.

Great quote: “That’s the thing about lowriding, We don’t really go anywhere, we just take our time getting there.”

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