Donít Let Me Drown (2009/Image DVD)
Sound: C+†††† Extras: C-†††† Feature: C+
Usually when we get our hands on an independent film
release, it gets much hype, but turns out not to offer much.† Cruz Angelesí Donít Let Me Drown (2009) is a rare exception these days.† Yes, it may be rough and have some parts they
would have re-shot if they had the money, but the tale of teenagers Lalo (E.J.
Bonilla) and Stefanie (Gleendilys Inoa) having a potential relationship in the
shadow of 9/11, dysfunctional families, tough street living and most peopleís
objections is one of the few honest urban films I have seen in a while and we
get our share.
The acting is decent all around and for once, the
screenplay (by Cruz) is consistent, thorough and with few problems.† Yes, the story can be familiar, yet it is a
new, updated take on certain aspects of urban living that never change and even
got worse since the 1980s.† Ricardo
Chavira is particularly good in the thankless role of Stefanieís abusive
father, but there is something different going on here that is good in the
chemistry of the acting and way this was made that suggests what a new
independent cinema could be today if just left alone to grow.† All in all, this is definitely worth a look
and more competent on a narrative level than many big budget fiascos we have
suffered through lately.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has some good
color and shots, but also haws some rough shots beyond the attempt to make this
look gritty, something Director of Photography Chad Davidson does not
overdo.† The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix stretches
out what seems to be a simple 2.0 Stereo mix, with some of the music far louder
than dialogue recording to the point that I could almost warn about volume
switching.† A trailer is the only extra.
-†† Nicholas Sheffo