Now THIS is a good film! Swiftly layered and smoothly connected.
I’ve seen many movies through the years. Up until now, I can’t say I’ve seen one that would beautifully elevate levels of friendship, especially when doing away with “cultural barriers” and centralizing within the good that exists in each other. In many cases films generally like to rush the process and try to figure out a way that’ll tarnish the friendship by raising the stakes and perpetuating stereotypes. Perhaps it’s typical of Hollywood to do it because in the mindsets of those pulling the strings, maybe they feel that’s what the audience wants. In some cases yes, but in some no… it’s not to say that it’s a constant thing, because from time to time, Hollywood does expose heroes here and there out of some we’re not inclined to “expect it” from, but when one digs deep within humanity, strings of consciousness leads towards some of the most empowering relations ever. So much, it’s safe to say we’ll go to extremes in order to display the amount of value we have towards one another and that special bond labeled friendship.
At first it may seem “obvious,” but I tell you it’s not. AMEXICANO is not a piece about day laborers & illegal immigration. Instead, it’s a story about an unlikely friendship that sparks. “Bruno,” the Italian-American “gringo boss” from Queens (Famiglietti), has a hunch that “Ignacio,” a rather reserved-looking illegal Mexican day laborer (Raul Castillo), might be just the kind of worker that he needs to help him turn his luck around and pay off his debts. In the beginning we see 2 men from very different backgrounds who can barely communicate with each other. Gradually they develop a work ethic that enables them to know each other better and leads them to better paying jobs. Suddenly, through an unfortunate incident, Bruno and Ignacio find themselves in a similar predicament — having to hustle again to get regular work and re-establish themselves as a capable duo. When Ignacio stands up for Bruno with the other Latino day laborers (mostly Mexican), their relationship evolves into a story with heart and some funny and touching moments. The acting in AMEXICANO is quite good. All of the main characters (Famiglietti, Castillo, Jennifer Pena, and Manny Perez) lay out their roles convincingly. Each adding dimensions to the story to provide a special charm that most Independent films hope to achieve. There are a number of other enjoyable developments in the film to provide more depth, such as an ill-fated love triangle, which I will not spoil. My only caution about AMEXICANO given contemporary times, most of all Arizona’s latest law regarding illegal immigration, is that I’m sure some viewers might politicize the film. If you’re able to do away with the separatist mentality, you’ll be fully aware that this is a human story, not a political “piece”. Those who wish to politicize the film will, but I assert that they will miss the charm of this film.
Having teamed up before in Lbs., I must once again commend Famiglietti and Matthew Bonifacio. Famiglietti first for having the ability to dig deep and write about reality… More so when it tends to deal and expose the one side some of us tend to do away with. That side is humanity ladies and gentleman. I don’t want get political here because I’d be contradicting myself from my earlier comment, but if there’s something I feel Famiglietti would like to get across in this film is the act of humility, kindness, acceptance, respect and listening. All of which I’ve mentioned exist; only some apply it at their convenience and only among those they feel comfortable with. This kind of act is seen and felt more when having extreme political views. Sure some may/can argue, but there are two sides to a coin. And of course commending Bonifacio for having that directional eye and visually creating magic…ONE major reason why I love the art of film.
AMEXICANO metaphorically displays what human-nature SHOULD actually be.
GENRE: Social Issues Drama
ROARS: 5 Out of 5
Run Time: 1 Hr. 24 Min. / Rated: PG-13
Cast: Hugo Aleman, Michael Aronov, Raul Castillo, Carmine Famiglietti, Jennifer Pena, Manny Perez
Director: Matthew Bonifacio
AMEXICANO is available now for rental (Netflix / Blockbuster), and also on sale wherever DVDs or Blu-Rays are sold.