Scandalously under supported by the British multiplex fraternity this delicious Mexican coming of age movie has been released on Dvd for you lucky peopel. Recent trends in cinema have bucked the notion of spectacle and bombast replacing it with rounded characterisations and plot driven indie movies. Arguably the New France, Mexico has become all the rage showcasing maverick directors and interesting films! Guillermo del Torro (Chronos, Others, Blade 2), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros) and this movies Director Alfonso Cuaron (Great Expectations and soon to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabhan)
Two teenagers, Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal from Amores Perros) and Tenoch, (Diego Luna) who spend time doing parties, grass, masturbating and experimentation to fulfil the voids in their lives. Privileged Tenoch is son to a politician and Julio son of a secretary, their friendship (charolastras) and subsequent code (as brilliant as it is simple) has been solid since birth. With little to do in a crowded city, the pair hoodwink an older relative's attractive wife- Luisa - (Maribel Verdu) to accompany them on a journey to 'Heaven's Mouth', a beach they have just made up in a hope to get lucky. To their surprise she accepts and not for the most obvious reasons and so it begins - one of the best movies of recent years. Eclipsing even the mighty 'Amores Perros' at the Mexican Box Office.
The characterisations are spot-on in this intelligent road movie and from the off set you are either gonna like it or hate it. Luna and Bernal clearly have a wail of a time, as they are best friends in real life, as such the chemistry is clear to observe. The pacing is fast, the conversations faster and the opening scene features an arse bobbing up and down in youthful coitus. In less assured hands (Cuaron also writes) this could easily have descended in to an uneasy sex farce with nothing new or original to say as it is this a heart warming, deeply moving tale of friendship, puberty, sex, trust and mothers.
In terms of cinematography again Cuaron excels; crisp flurried movement, detailing city/landscapes with vistas and confident use of contrast. The irreverent plot lines and genius narrative offset against these visuals are delightful and juxtapose the realism with fairytale diversions offering, at times, a biting social commentary.
The trio of would be 'life evacuees' revel in a script of an unparalleled sense of fun, mischief and sincerity - the insults, trade off's and counter arguments are exchanged in scatter shot perfection. Luna and Bernal are outstanding and Verdu smoulders suitably, the epitome of femme fatale who may, just may tear the boys apart and break their code forever.
Cuaron masks a dark tale behind light moments of human observation and pointed humour. The existential angst and the pseudo link for travel and growing up is set within an exuberant balance of emotion (watch out for the not so hidden subtext). The end message is particularly poignant and endures even the most hardened filmgoers to examine his or her childhood experiences...