by Greg Muskewitz
Another tedious biopic of an artist with a tough life, made tougher by choice and default, who struggles all the way until the brought-on end.It’s a hard-knock life, but one that writer/director Leon Ichaso doesn’t help gain any sympathy or understanding for. Rather, Miguel Piñero’s “story” is eschewed by the untantalizing prospect that repetitively allows one to linger around him as he is strung-out or drugged-up. As an assumed biographical supplement, I learned more about Piñero in the prefatory paragraph or two of text in the form of a title card at the beginning and end of the movie, than I did from everything else in between. (Including, but not limited to ultra-privy conversations and ideas that are less likely fact, and more likely the supposition or speculation of the writer/director.) Ichaso is not interested with his inspirations, creating processes, triumphs, emotions, etc., but the run-down state of being Piñero succumbs to. Finding his fix, getting his fix, egotistically spouting about his fix. How many times has one seen or heard this story, with the variables changing only to accommodate different forms of drugs or addictions — cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, ecstasy, marijuana, et al. — and each time it is pounded deeper and deeper into the ground without actually gaining any new ground. The fragmented narrative does nothing but to rearrange the route of exploitation and hyperbole; Piñero’s bi- or homosexuality is touched upon (literally, touched), but never is it taken anywhere. The same stands for Ichaso’s soi-disant style —it is random, structureless, and unprompted. The only reason a person hops back-and-forth in one scene, from scene to scene, using (a) color film, (b) black-and-white stock, and (c) digital video (then back to (b), then (c) again, then (a), then…) is merely to do it because they can.
"A piñata of kitsch."
With Benjamin Bratt, Talisa Soto, Giancarlo Esposito, Mandy Patinkin, and Rita Moreno, used like a puppet to strike a chord from her Golden Days of dancing on the roofs in West Side Story.[Not to be bothered with.]
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5649&reviewer=172
originally posted: 09/14/02 16:33:18