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Edward James Olmos
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Growing up in the Mission district of San Francisco, Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) has always had to be tough to survive. He's a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che's path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay. To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he'll have to embrace a side of himself he's never shown. Written by
Talisa Soto who plays Ana and Benjamin Bratt who plays Che are married in real life. They met on the set of Blood In Blood where Rene played by Jesse Borrego stars alongside Benjamin Bratt. See more »
After Jes and his dad fight, Jes has a fat lip on the left side. A few scenes later, Jes is having his lip tended to at the home of Rene (Jesse Borrego) and the lip looks to be swollen and bleeding on the right side because he is looking in a mirror. See more »
All right, look, look, look, I told your uncle I was going to try, all right? And I am. I'm trying, but if you think that talking about it or processing it or however you want to call it is gonna somehow make it all right or acceptable, or that maybe one day I'm gonna, like, give you my blessing, then you're wasting your time, 'cause that's never gonna happen.
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Diamonds are rare and the result of years of pressure on what many of us see as insignificant bits of carbon. Small films shine the brightest because there is enormous pressure on them to succeed and are so rare to find, but one of them bursts through like this film, we'd better be ready to witness pure brilliance and some amazing work.
Much of the success of this piece is having Benjamin Pratt as the propelling force. His perfect portrayal of a complex, tortured conservative (within his cultural boundaries) push him to emotional conflicts he might never be able to handle. The audience knows we are in for tour-de-force performance when the film shows in a very early scene an emotional confrontation between father and son, after Che discovers some hidden baggage on his son's life. The scene is violent, emotional, dark, powerful, and hard to watch, as we see two human beings who obviously love each other react in very explosive terms. Jess is his father's younger version, a strong human young man who is discovering himself is not willing to compromise his belief, much like his father clings to his traditional values. The big exception is that there plenty of darkness and suffering in Che's life. In spite of having been given a second chance, as we eventually learn through scenes that provide some family and friends' back stories. Che has seen plenty of tragedy before, but he hasn't been able to find cathartic release and holds much pain inside. Dealing with his only child's new revelations might just be enough to push him into irreparable damage.
There are some wonderful scenes in "The Mission." We're exposed to facets of a culture that very few people ever see. There are stereotypes, but also much is done to create real character out of many of the supporting characters. Che's brother parallel storyline is subtly presented to show the way this family interacts with each other and the strength of their family bonds. Che's African American neighbor is delightful and refreshing showing a strong and sensitive human being who might be the link between doom and salvation for Che.
The biggest revelation in the film is Jeremy Ray Valdez's performance as the estranged son who might not be able to reconnect with his father. Seldom one can see such a range of emotions so perfectly displayed scene after scene, matching Pratt's nearly perfect performance bit by bit. One looks forward to seeing more of this amazing actor in the future.
"The Mission" is a rich, powerful, and finely detailed movie that shows the inner workings of a segment of society rarely seen through this lens. The film is a small, intimate jewel that is both touching and enjoyable. Excellent!
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