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Lrguizamo,John ~ Cronicas
In twisty thriller Crónicas, John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge) finally lands a lead role worthy of his talent. The Columbian-born actor is Manolo Bonilla, an ambitious Miami-based reporter for a Spanish-language news outlet. When a serial killer devastates a small town in Ecuador, he and his crew, Marisa (Leonor Watling, Talk to Her) and Iván (José María Yazpik, Innocent Voices), fly down to cover the story. Shortly after their arrival, Bonilla saves the life of shifty-looking salesman Vinicio Cepeda (Damián Alcázar). His intentions aren't as honorable as they seem. Cepeda claims to have information regarding the "Monster of Babahoyo" and Bonilla will do anything to keep him talking. Soon his star begins to rise as Cepeda provides him with more and more ratings-grabbing details. Then Bonilla discovers something even the authorities don't know about--another body. His decision to follow the lead on his own could make his career...or completely destroy it. Worse yet, another child may lose his life if Bonilla fails. Featuring Alfred Molina (Frida) as Marisa's TV host husband (seen only via monitor). Written and directed by Sebastián Cordero and produced by Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, Crónicas was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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John Leguizamo plays a Miami-based TV-reporter who stumbles upon a big story about the heinous serial killer "the Monster of Babahoyo." Manolo, star reporter of Tabloid TV show (host played cameo Alfred Molina), believes that this timid middle-aged man Vinicio, who is now in prison because of one fatal hit-and-run accident, knows something about the killer that scares the local people.
While Vinicio offers a deal, there is another question - is he telling Manolo the truth? Or is he himself the Monster?
`Crónicas' has suspenseful moments, but it is not a murder mystery. If you're an avid reader of crime novels, you can predict the story fairly well, and the main characters - fame-hungry TV reporter, his female assistant (Leonor Watling, `Talk to Her'), and the portrait of the killer itself - are pretty stereotyped ones. Its oversimplified statement about the media, as is shown in its tagline (`If it's on TV, it must be the truth') looks old to me, having been repeated again and again in the films like `Mad City.' Today people don't believe the `story' so easily as the film thinks.
But the sinister, brooding mood of the places director Sebastián Cordero shoots with keen eyes, and the riveting acting from underrated Leguizamo, and creepy but convincing acting from Damián Alcázar is another thing. The director did a fantastic job of capturing the air of the small community.
Perhaps the film gets most chilling when it shows the darker (or I should say complicated) side of the people in this small town. Actually, the most impressive moment does not involve the serial killer, nor the media circus. I am talking about one long sequence, in which one dies and another is nearly killed after being brutally treated. Here Cordero shows his undeniable talent as director. The film is well worth watching for these terrific moments, not for the simplified commentary on the media that you might have already heard before.
Like me, you might find yourself watching the movie twice - once to get the gist by reading the subtitles - then again to concentrate more on the actors and to fill in some details.
John Leguizamo does a good job playing the cocky, ambitious reporter intent on developing and breaking the story of the child killer himself, without tipping off the police. But the really memorable performance is turned in by Damian Alcazar. He plays his part with a brilliant mix of meek supplication and soft, compelling manipulative guile. Whatever equivalent of the Academy Award the South American movie industry may present - should go to him.
This movie also gives us a look into settings most of us will (thankfully) never experience in person. We are taken into the center of mob violence. We see what the interior of a South American jail is like, with its peeling paint and exposed, dripping water pipes and its encouragement of inmate violence. We see the resourceful, stilted shantytowns people in those small towns build with whatever materials they find at hand.
This movie may also provoke deep debate among you and your friends about who the real villain of the story is. Of course there is the child killer himself. But many have found the reporters equally culpable in their eagerness to take credit for unmasking the killer. I have an additional candidate to nominate for villain. It's not so much Damian's wife, who urged her husband to keep silent about his presumed knowledge of the killer's identity. But it is her desperate spirit of "let's not get involved" that I blame. Even for someone who is poor and struggling, that attitude should not be given a pass. It is the root of so much evil.
Whichever characters you end up convicting of the horror though, you will probably be haunted by the dark places this movie takes you to - long after you finish watching it.
The whole cast gave a superb performance, led by John Leguizamo and Damián Alcázar. Leonor Watling (as Marisa) and José María Yazpik (as Ivan), also gave incredible supportive performances.
I am grateful that other reviewers have already given the synopsis of the film so I won't reiterate. The film unravels the characters of Bonilla and Cepeda at the same time, showing curious similarities. This is one of the keys to the film I think, introducing evil in its many shapes and shades. Through the whole film I kept waiting and expecting for Bonilla to do the "right thing" because he is constantly referred to as the "hero". Every where he goes, he signs autographs and smiles back at adoring fans. Cepeda is described as a hero also, by his family, friends and neighbors - God fearing bible salesman that everyone knows and adores, prior to accidentally running a child over (accidents happen, could happen to anyone, right?), thus becoming the tragic hero and victim of circumstance.
Even though I started figuring out the question of who the killer was, I never expected the ending; I sat up and gasped "What???" I was stunned! I kept waiting for someone to do the right thing because of the hero references and asking myself "well, what would you do?" to me it is a no brainer, but the director gives hints that Bonillo is as much as a sociopath as the killer. I gaged my frustration with the outcome to the well done set up by the director and the stellar performance of the actors. I don't want to compromise my ethics here by saying that I liked the ending (given the gruesome crimes) -but I did and I thought that it was realistic given the set up and the movement to the film. Long after the movie ends, questions will still gnaw in the back of your mind; one of them being if Bonillo was just as evil as the serial killer? Is knowledge and in-action just as evil as having committed the crime?
I am not to familiar with Sebastián Cordero work but I plan to get acquainted with it in the near future. Cordero wrote and directed this film and I think that there is a good partnership between him and Guillermo del Toro. I have not been let down with del Toro's work, especially his work as a director. Final thought it is great to see the range of John Leguizamo' work. He is an exceptional actor who has been under rated, I hope he gets more work of this caliber.
Alright. Now, this movie was great. John Leguizamo, as always, played his character flawlessly.
This moview was about a serial killer in Latin America that killed more than 150 children - boys and girls - and the reporters that follow this story. I don't know if I can review this without spoiling the movie.
Alright, here goes. The movie was great. The beginning shows a little boy whose twin brother was killed by the "Monster" - the name that was given to the serial killer / rapist who has been taking young children and doing horrible - HORRIBLE - things to them. The little boy gets run over by a man who was picking up his son from school after taking a bath in a river (???). Then it cuts to a reporter who is quite famous in that country, who is covering the story of the "Monster."
He does interviews with the man who accidentally runs over the little boy. Turns out that the man who ran over the little boy has information about the Monster that no one but the Monster would have. As it turns out, the information is completely true, and this movie chronicles what the reporter chooses to do with the information given.
It is about what's important and what you are willing to sacrifice for fame.
I loved it, it pissed my friend off with the ending, but I would recommend watching it. It will give you something to think about and talk about, and debate about because this movie will have you walking away with conflicting feelings. On one hand, you know what's right, but what's more important, you or other people?
My advice? Watch it. It will make you think. Hard.
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