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In a dark and decadent area of São Paulo, the exiled Americans Sinatra and his son Paul own a brothel. Paul is a compulsive gambler addicted in cocaine and his father is married with the former prostitute Angie, and they have a little son. When a client is killed by his wife in their establishment, they find a suitcase with drugs. In the night that they have scheduled a negotiation with African buyers, their African liaison dies while having sex with the travesty Nazda. Sinatra proposes to the Nigerian dishwasher of the brothel, Wemba, to travel to the harbor of Santos, close the business with the drug dealers and in return he would receive a large amount. Wemba accepts but while returning to his car in the harbor, he is attacked by two smalltime thieves and passes out. His lack of contact with Sinatra and Paul leads to a sequence of misunderstandings with a tragic end. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Director Searching for his Signature, March 3, 2007 Reviewer: Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
For those of us who found much to admire and appreciate in Eric Eason's 2002 little powerhouse of a film MANITO that placed Franky G in the limelight as a sound actor inside that hunky exterior, the release of JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT held much promise. Unfortunately with moving into the arena of 'major features' with popular big actors in a script that is deeply in need of surgery proves a step too quickly taken. While it is easy to see Eason's intentions in this very dark (literally!) film, it is compulsively doctored with phony 'reality ideas' that misfire.
The basic story is a family of Americans who are deeply involved in the crime scene (brothels) of São Paulo, Brazil, intricately bound in their crime acts but both planning to escape the quagmire of the dingy life of the city and return to America. The father Sinatra (Scott Glenn) is living with Angie (Catalina Sandino Moreno - the star of 'Maria Full of Grace') and they have a small child: Sinatra's son Paul (Brendan Fraser) is also in love with Angie and plans an escape from the dregs of Sao Paulo after he manages to work a drug pass engineered by his father. The sale is to Nigerians who speak Yoruba and when the 'messenger' meant to pass the drugs for the money abruptly dies in a brothel with a transgender prostitute, the panic begins: who can make the pass that night? Sinatra hires a Nigerian, Yoruba speaking dishwasher Wemba (Mos Def) who agrees to take the drugs to the drop site and it seems Wemba is the only decent character to keep his bargain and his word. Paul is enraged with the death of the original middleman and ends up disfiguring the prostitute present at his death. The drug deal falls into problems, Paul is unable to convince Angie to stand by him (which mean leaving Paul's father and the possible endangerment of her son), and things bog down plot-wise so that story ultimately ends with the only persons to care about are Angie and Wemba.
Eason makes his story all happen in one night and the constant factor is a greenish darkness that hides almost everything - and that may be a good thing! The script is Swiss cheese, the acting is for the most part sadly directed, the cast is poorly chosen, and the only real redeeming factor is the chance to watch Mos Def continue to flesh out his career with well executed character roles. Eric Eason holds much promise as a director (he was the awarded best emerging filmmaker by first annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City in 2002), so perhaps this excursion into the 'big screen realm' can be forgiven as overstepping his material. In the end JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT is hopefully just a sidestep for a director who obviously has considerable talent. Grady Harp
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