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On the Downlow (2004)

 -  Drama  -  11 June 2004 (USA)
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Isaac and Angel are two young Latinos involved in a south side Chicago gang. They have a secret in a world where secrets are forbidden.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donato Cruz ...
Felipe Camacho ...
Priest (as Phil Camacho)
Carmen Cenko ...
Isaac's Mother
Jonathan Rodriquez ...
Adelina Quinones ...
Beatriz Jamaica ...
Angel's Mother
Tatiana Suarez-Pico ...
Jimmy's Mother (as Tatiana Suarez'Pico)
Eric Ambriz ...
Jimmy (as Eric Lloyd Ambriz)
Roberto Soto ...
Jimmy Borras Jr. ...
Niko (as Jimmy J. Borras Jr.)
Russell Foster ...
Yard Dude
Brian Parenti ...


Set along Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, 'On The Downlow' is a new feature based on Chicago filmmaker Tadeo Garcia's award-winning short 'Broken Warning'. 'On The Downlow' is the explosive story of the relationship between Isaac and Angel, two young Latinos involved in a Southside Chicago gang. The decisions these men make and the paths they each take create a trap for them in a community where rules can't be broken and secrets won't be tolerated. With characters that defy stereotyping and a surprising tenderness, On The Downlow is an unconventional look at life in the hood. Written by Gilberto Magaña

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11 June 2004 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Priest: One is not forced into being bad my son, one decides for himself what he will or will not do.
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Crazy Credits

End credit says: "This motion picture photoplay is protected pursuant to the provisions of the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any unauthorized duplication of this photoplay may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution. In other words... We'll cut your balls off." See more »


Remake of Broken Warning (2002) See more »


Baby Be Bop
Performed by DeadLee
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User Reviews

Tadeo Garcia: A Voice to Hear, A Talent to Applaud
19 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Gradually movie audiences are turning more serious attention to the little Independent films for quality and meaning in story and in style and in brave confrontation with issues outside the perimeter of the Hollywood style films. A fine example is this remarkable film by student Tadeo Garcia whose first year in film school produced the outline of this little gem of a movie and whose courageous 'first film' gained the respect of screenwriter Roger B. Domain who helped him transfer the skeletal story into a full length film ON THE DOWNLOW, all on a budget of $8,000.! From the opening scenes we can sense that we are watching a love story, but it is a story of forbidden love: Angel (Michael Cortez) is escaping his Chicago street gang with the help of Isaac (Tony Sancho) and the two warmly human, supportive, sensitive young youths flee to the territory of Isaac's low neighborhood where Isaac convinces Angel to give up his allegiance to his former gang and pledge to Isaac's gang, a rasty group led by Reaper (Donato Cruz). Very gradually and with incredible decorum Garcia reveals to us that Angel and Isaac are lovers, the only time the union is shown physically is a prolonged kiss in an open night alley, an event which will trigger the force of destiny: it is enough as the scene is passionate yet gracefully not graphic.

The boys' mothers plead with them to not carry guns and to avoid gang alliance, but at the same time they lovingly accept their sons' sexuality. But life is as it is on the streets of south side Chicago and Angel is accepted into Isaac's gang, having to undergo the cruel initiation beating that accompanies his joining. Reaper is later informed that Angel is an ex-gang member of the rival gang and Isaac is the one Reaper determines should kill the offending Angel. The two lovers try to escape Chicago but the inevitable happens and the ending is tragic but with undertones that are subtly captured by Garcia's eye, mind, camera, and heart: the final confrontation scene ends with our enabled view of evidence that other members of the gang share the same 'on the downlow' as Angel and Isaac.

Not only are Tony Sancho and Michael Cortez wholly believable in their dichotomous roles, but the entire cast is filled with raw yet gifted talent: Felipe Camacho as the Priest, Beatriz Jamaica as Angel's mother and Carmen Cenko as Isaac's mother, Donato Cruz as Reaper, Adelina Quinones (a terrific screen presence) as Laura, and all the youngsters who convincingly bring the gang members to life. Yes, there are evidences of low budget constraints, but the overwhelming success of the story of two young men in love against the backdrop of hopelessness of crime is brilliant evidence that Tadeo Garcia is a gifted talent to watch. Recommended for all audiences. Grady Harp

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