4 November 2008 | Brakathor
A Movie Scared Of It's Own Subject Is Never Good
The biggest problem with this movie is that it doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of either street life, runaways, prostitution, drug abuse, or ANYTHING that is supposedly at the heart of this film. In terms of drug abuse, as far as we know all they do is smoke cigarettes. When Jon finds Maité passed out, there should be a hypodermic needle beside her, a bottle of pills, or at least a pack of cocaine, but all we see is something in her hand and it is unclear whether it is a cigarette or a needle (If it was a needle her sleeve should have been rolled up). This movie contains no explicit drug use at all, nor even anyone exhibiting the EFFECTS of drug use, including alcohol. When she is taken to the hospital, we don't see her dragged unconscious into the waiting room, instead there is a man with a stretcher inexplicably waiting for her at the entrance, whereby she is calmly rolled into the hospital. It's also a little ridiculous that she was able to make it to the hospital alive, and by the time Jon left the hospital is was already dark and she was still alive (many hours would have passed since she was brought there), but the hospital was unable to save her in the end. The runaway aspect is also a little dampened, as the situation is that of: "You're our son, we love you enough to give you food, but not to let you live with us or try to get you off drugs." In essence, he is not from an impoverished or broken home. In terms of prostitution... there is none, whether it be on the streets or among the main characters, and whatever prostitution IS implied, it is so vague that it amounts to nothing.
In the end, for all these shortcomings, basically the portrait we're presented, is of 2 young adults who are living on their own, struggling to make ends meet, who appear in good health and with perfect skin, rather than 2 runaways, hooked on drugs, and under the thumb of a drug pusher, pimp, or gangster, or whatever Antonio Banderas' character is even supposed to be. And for anyone who has no real life knowledge of drug use, these 2 portraits are a key difference that the movie must establish, because many young people do hard drugs, and still live productive lives and don't have any trouble supporting themselves. These characters, the way they are presented, appear simply as irresponsible individuals who spend their money on smokes and booze when they should spend it on food and rent. In addition to all this, the scenes are very poorly set up in that all of the main characters seem to be omni-present whenever the plot seems to have use for them.
Aside from the enormous failings, as others have commented, the dialogue and acting were fairly good, and I'm sure this movie serves as an interesting time capsule from the 80's of the city where it was filmed. I was actually able to find meaning from the rather perverted scene of where Maité just learns something new, how to fish, a useful survival skill in this coastal town, only hours before she dies. But in the end, for anyone with any REAL interest in the subject that the film pretends to be based on, an absolute waste of time.