Dir: Josh Crook
Starring: Manny Perez, Denise Quiñones
I am always keen to check out crime thrillers and revenge films, so when La Soga came along I was quite excited to check this one out. It certainly doesn’t disappoint, as it is a really interesting and well-rounded affair. It has a bit of a déjà vu feeling, in that the style and story has been done before, but that really doesn’t take anything away from it, it is worth a watch. I should warn though, that this film is quite violent and it shows some scenes involving animals that might disturb some viewers, so go into this with caution if you can’t handle those things.
The story takes place in the Dominican Republic (as well as New York for some parts), and it follows Luisito ‘La Soga’ (Manny Perez) who was a butcher’s son. He grew up to become a government gun for hire. He takes a huge risk to fight for justice against those who are corrupt and seek revenge against his murdered father.
It has a really interesting premise and the execution here is really good too. It flashes back and forth between the young Luisito and the older one; we see how he changed from the innocent young boy into the killer. But once he discovers exactly what General Colon (Juan Fernández) the head of the Dominican secret police is, his journey for justice and revenge surfaces. What really worked is that it told a solid story, and by seeing the younger days of the character we develop this sympathy for him and almost understand his situation. It is a clever device, and more than anything this is actually quite the character driven piece.
I was really impressed by Manny Perez, as I understand this was a passion piece for him. Not only does he serve as the films star but he wrote the screenplay as well, based on events in his life. It really feels personal, and it shows in his very honest and raw performance. This could have easily gone badly, but Perez managed to stay grounded and really bring forth a truth to what he was doing. I was also quite taken with who was great as the childhood love interest Denise Quiñones as Jenny. While not necessary, this really added to his character and developed it further. Sometimes the added romantic angle doesn’t work, but here it really did and I am glad they included it. Juan was also really solid, never quite going into the over the top with the ‘evil’ character but he was definitely someone that the audience could fight against.
I really enjoyed Manny Perez’s script, never afraid to venture into dark areas and always trying to remain true to its intentions. The dialogue was impressive, and the flashbacks were handled beautifully. Josh Crook did a great job directing the piece; it looked great and the different visual schemes really worked. If anything the film doesn’t feel wholly original and the pacing is a little off in areas but this is a really great effort.
The Australian DVD:
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.
DVD details here.
Thanks to Bill care of The Analogue Titles for the copy.