30 July 2012 | anto107d2002
Review by Matt Hudson
Title: 107 Street. I usually start out these reviews with ramblings from my personal life and how I find some connection to the film I'm about to review.
It doesn't work here. Why? "107Street" is a different kind of film. Not so radical that I can find no connection to it, but different enough that I accept that it dwells in a world I do not really know. Actually, it dwells in a number of worlds, but overall, it resides in a place I do not know from first-hand experience. So the only major connection I have is that I don't really have one.
Let me explain
"107 Street" is a very urban film. Its setting is the Hispanic section of a large city. The characters and the story lines are all deeply connected to the setting. You might be able to set some of what happens in this film a smaller, rural setting, but you'd be hard-pressed to do so. I am, in spite of living in a couple of reasonably large cities, a rural boy until I die. I can watch movies set in urban sprawl, but I have seen few in which I can feel the deeper connection of character and story intertwined with the setting. "107 Street" does this, and that is the heart of this film.
What is it about? A guy who finds he can listen in on people's phone conversation. A group of guys of all ages who have been warned by creatures beyond their wildest imagination of the destruction of their neighborhood. A beautiful woman finds her familial history of poor relationships is causing a crisis of faith concerning her fast-approaching wedding.
Each of these could stand on their own as the subject of a film. At least two of them should.
The strongest of the three tales is the one dealing with the men who have been told aliens will destroy their neighborhood. They question themselves, they question each other, and they question their faith in their sanity. They know they should tell everyone, yet they fear they will either cause panic or be thought of as being out of their minds. The story can be taken on so many levels. Science fiction. Horror. Social commentary. Comedy. And through these men, you see their families, their friends, and ultimately, their neighborhood and their world.
Then you have the story of the recently dumped young man who all but becomes a recluse in his apartment as he deals with his sorrow and depression. Then, he discovers by accident that he can tap into phone calls that are going on all around him. He becomes a phone voyeur, delving into the fears, joys and secrets of friends and strangers. He keeps files on each person. He watches as they pass his apartment windows. Are the voices real? Is it his imagination? Then one day he decides listening is not enough, and he reaches out to one of the people to whom he has been listening.
With two meaty story lines like that, the portrait of the young bride doubting herself, her groom and and love itself receives the short end of the film. You see and hear her, as well as her friends and family members, pass through the other two stories, but there just isn't enough space in the running time to give this tale the room and slower pace that it would take to let it grow. And that is a bit of a shame. Given enough attention, this story would be as strong as the other two.
Helping this film's various overlapping stories draw you in is the universally solid acting by almost everyone. Most actors seem comfortable, as if they are playing themselves. Oh, there is the occasional faulty scene here and there for some of the actors in the smaller roles, but nothing ever pulls your attention from the interaction of the characters or what they are going through. And that speaks well for Antonio De La Cruz, the writer and director, who has put together more in one film than most filmmakers end up putting into their entire careers.
The best thing I think I can say about "107 Street" is that even though I watched this film some time ago, it still crosses my mind every other day or so. So many films fade before I have a chance to take them out of the player. I still find myself thinking about the characters and the story structure and the perfect connection to the environment of the film. You really can't beat a movie that keeps playing in your head and you never get tired of it.