Family, Tradition, and Emotional Rage (by aharmas)
Diamonds are rare and the result of years of pressure on what many of us see as insignificant bits of carbon. Small films shine the brightest because there is enormous pressure on them to succeed and are so rare to find, but one of them bursts through like this film, we'd better be ready to witness pure brilliance and some amazing work.Much of the success of this piece is having Benjamin Pratt as the propelling force. His perfect portrayal of a complex, tortured conservative within his cultural boundaries push him to emotional conflicts he might never be able to handle. The audience <more>
knows we are in for tour-de-force performance when the film shows in a very early scene an emotional confrontation between father and son, after Che discovers some hidden baggage on his son's life. The scene is violent, emotional, dark, powerful, and hard to watch, as we see two human beings who obviously love each other react in very explosive terms. Jess is his father's younger version, a strong human young man who is discovering himself is not willing to compromise his belief, much like his father clings to his traditional values. The big exception is that there plenty of darkness and suffering in Che's life. In spite of having been given a second chance, as we eventually learn through scenes that provide some family and friends' back stories. Che has seen plenty of tragedy before, but he hasn't been able to find cathartic release and holds much pain inside. Dealing with his only child's new revelations might just be enough to push him into irreparable damage.There are some wonderful scenes in "The Mission." We're exposed to facets of a culture that very few people ever see. There are stereotypes, but also much is done to create real character out of many of the supporting characters. Che's brother parallel storyline is subtly presented to show the way this family interacts with each other and the strength of their family bonds. Che's African American neighbor is delightful and refreshing showing a strong and sensitive human being who might be the link between doom and salvation for Che.The biggest revelation in the film is Jeremy Ray Valdez's performance as the estranged son who might not be able to reconnect with his father. Seldom one can see such a range of emotions so perfectly displayed scene after scene, matching Pratt's nearly perfect performance bit by bit. One looks forward to seeing more of this amazing actor in the future."The Mission" is a rich, powerful, and finely detailed movie that shows the inner workings of a segment of society rarely seen through this lens. The film is a small, intimate jewel that is both touching and enjoyable. Excellent!
Insightful, clever, funny, original, great story, characters and sound track (by nancy-fulton)
This is a film to see. Great as a "date" movie or even a family movie if you don't mind the occasional f-bomb this film has the same "human heart" found in Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and Big Fat Greek Wedding. Its a great story told very well by very talented people who had something important to say.I won't put in a spoiler because frankly I want you to see it as I did without knowing what its about. I want you to enjoy it's unfolding.Whether you see this film in theaters recommended or watch it on PPV, Cable or DVD, I can _guarantee_ you'll see it <more>
because its one of the best independent films . . . one of the best films . . . I've seen in the last five years.Enjoy :
LA MISSION mission accomplished for real (by rroberto18)
Even in L.A., this powerful film about Latino family culture only ran in a handful of theaters for a fewer number of weeks. Well worth looking for, LA MISSION is one of the most powerful and rewarding films I've seen in years.Every actor, from unknown to under-rated, is perfectly cast and directed. Leading man Benjamin Bratt is given solid dialog, but in a major scene in which he has no words, his body and soul communicate all that needs to be said and more. The carefully chosen locations and intricately-detailed set design are reasons enough to shut your cell phone off and let it command <more>
your undivided attention.Even the soundtrack which could have gone down a well-traveled "low rider" route takes you to unexpected places -- from indigenous Aztec folk music to India raga; from the 60s to the present. Both the original and adapted musical choices are just as involving as the script and plot. Yet it's not available on a soundtrack CD as of this writing.Don't want to say more, because the film is best seen "cold" with little inside knowledge. But you will leave the theater or your home screen wondering why this well-crafted labor of love is such a well- kept secret.Woefully overlooked despite solid reviews, it's 2 hours well spent -- and warrants repeated viewing for years to come.
Caught this flick with a choice of almost any seat. Weird because the theater is known for showing real life, low budget, "art" and eclectic films so I expected it to be well attended at the 2:10 showing. Someone judged that the religious elements in the movie were a distraction. I don't get the same read. They seemed to fit in culturally quite well. In fact I judge there was an intent to show a paradox between passion for worship / faith reverence and passionate violence. The central theme is the breakdown between single parent father and gay son. It left room for some play <more>
around other compelling life issues. If you are shy about the subject of gay men, go see Oceans. Two hours is too long for this movie requisite love scene was useless , but the length did not detract from the story. The ending ... go see the movie.
Uncompromising and Realistic Portrait of Latino Life in San Francisco (by martys-7)
This underrated movie provides an insider's view of the colorful San Francisco's neighborhood known as the "Mission" - a predominantly Latino enclave in San Francisco. Inspired by real characters, it does not present the usual clichés of the ethnic minority drama by avoiding the romanticizing of this environment; it skews the typical down home ethnic wisdom favored by liberal Hollywood and does not become another histrionic sordid ghetto thriller/soap opera.Supported by an excellent cast, Benjamin Bratt gives an astonishing performance as an intolerant bus driver, a single <more>
father who cannot accept his adolescent only son's homosexuality despite the love and pride he feels for him. The violent machismo that have shaped his life is perpetuated by the next generation of disenfranchised youth who prey La Mission.The neighborhood is presented as an insular world almost anachronistic in 21st century San Francisco. Working class middle age men turn old cars into souped-up low-riding monsters and make fun of soy lattes and recycling, feathered Aztec dancers fill the streets with color and sound as neighbors try to maintain a sense of heritage with their indigenous past, families place flowers and pray where their children have been slain.The movie transcends its family drama genre allowing the story to evolve at its own pace with a feeling of authenticity and honesty prevailing in every scene. Without providing easy solutions, it centers on a character whose contradictions reflect the world he inhabits. Highly recommended.
Peter Bratt throws a lot in this movie (by jjcremin-1)
Actually, Benjamin Bratt said, "My brother Peter throws a lot into this movie." I went to a sold out screening on May 11, 2010, at the Pasadena Playhouse. This was a special screening as not only was Benjamin there; there was co-star Jeremy Ray Valdez and Laureen Selman, President of Reel Green Media, and who has the unusual screen credit as Environmental Consultant.Though Bratt is a familiar face with many credits, such as a regular on LAW & ORDER and co-star in one of Sandra Bollack's biggest hits, "MISS CONGENIALITY", he really wanted to make a film that <more>
portrays life where he grew up in, the Mission District in San Francisco. Locals pronounce La Mission as Spanish, La Mis-see-own. But he got nothing but "no's" from the top brass. They told him that there was no audience for this kind of story.But he had faith in his brother's story so they became producers with help from AMC Independent. Knowing the effects of movie making does to the environment, Selman came on board to ensure that waste was cut down. Cast and crew had to refill their water bottles or use metal containers. Cars ran on vegetable oil and ways for minimal use of paper work was investigated.I'll only give the setup of this movie as I do encourage seeing this movie. Che Benjamin Bratt is an ace mechanic who operates from his own garage. He often has his friends over while he works and he visits him regularly as well, playing dominoes and shooting the breeze. Most are Chicanos, like himself, though some English speaking African Americans are part of the group.Though beer and hard liquor is around him, he does not drink at all. In fact, one of his amigos is his AA sponsor. He's done time in prison and divorced from his wife. He has his son Jessie Jeremy Ray Valdez living with him. Jeremy is in his last year of high school and studying to be a college student.Just moved in on the second floor on top of his garage is a very spiritually minded African American, Lena Ericka Alexander who does not get along at Che at first.However, things get all turned around when he finds photographic evidence that his son Jesse is gay. He beats his son and throws him out of his apartment.Not a typical gang banger story at all and as in real life, everything does not resolve into one neat package. However, this is a good glimpse of of seeing realities in different perceptions and a story of transformation. Definitely not for kids but a very good one for those who like to keep an open mind.
Cruise "slow and low" through LA MISSION (by reelinspiration)
"La Mission" is a project of love about the barrio neighborhood the Bratt brothers grew up in. Writer/Director Peter Bratt takes time and care to set up a strong sense of cultural pride with Aztec dancers, Catholic rituals, "slow and low" cruising in shiny low riders through the family oriented Mission District of San Francisco.Che Rivera Benjamin Bratt an ex-con and recovering alcoholic, has worked hard to earn the respect of his community by going straight and being a good father to his college bound son Jeremy Ray Valdez. Benjamin Bratt portrays Che as the <more>
embodiment of Mexican machismo. The director presents him as a sympathetic character who was brought up to use his fists to survive on the hard streets. Che finds strength for his quest for redemption in his culture and religion. But when he discovers that his beloved son is gay, that homophobic culture drives his negative response. Enhancing the theme is a multi-racial relationship with Che's black, culturally diverse, social-worker neighbor Lena Erika Alexander. Lena sees through Che's violent, macho exterior. Experience has taught her that this kind of man is incapable of changing, but she can't help but be moved by the wounded boy inside. There is an odd visual metaphor which I believe is meant to show the contrast between past and present Chicano culture: colorful Aztec dancers perform at the shine of a murdered teen with a sign, "No more violence." I found it odd because the Aztec's practiced human sacrifice. Whether intentional or not, the Aztec dancers are a good metaphor for the theme: We need to keep what is healthy from our culture or religion and let go of what is destructive. "La Mission" isn't perfect. A few scenes were just left hanging - especially in the romantic subplot. I didn't feel the chemistry between Che and Lena. But Benjamin Bratt delivers one of his strongest performances. The brothers have given us an authentic, loving depiction of the culture in the Mission barrio with an important theme for our times. Movie Blessings! Jana Segal,Reel Inspiration