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Luis José Germán
The United States was very concerned about the instability of the region, with Cuba on one end and the Dominican Republic on the other. Something had to be done. At first, Lt. Garcia Guerrero was proud to have been assigned as an aid to General Trujillo only to witness, first hand, the atrocities and demented actions of the dictator. Everything Lt. Garcia Guerrero loved was being stripped from him... the love of his life, members of his family and the love for his country. Thousands of innocent people were being killed, the country was in turmoil and gripped with fear. Someone had to step up to the plate and take immediate action and Lt. Garcia Guerrero became the inside man in the plot to kill the dictator. Written by
On June 2nd, 1962, as Lt. Amado García is being ambushed, President Joaquin Balaguer's eulogy of Trujillo is being broadcast during the funeral of the Dictator. However, what we actually hear is that speech, inter-cut with Joaquin Balaguer's first inaugural address from July 1st 1966. See more »
The Dominican film industry has for the longest time been guilty of short sighted mentality. While film making is a business and this is true for Hollywood, Bollywood, Europe and everywhere, Dominican films have been disproportionately focused on making instant profits in the Dominican market and not given any attention to making exportable films that could in the end make even bigger profits. Low brow comedies directed at the masses, Dominican masses specifically, has been the norm.
With that in mind, the announcement of a historical film, treating the subject of one of the conspirators that killed Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who for 31 years held absolute power over this Caribbean half island, was of course a ray of positive light. Serious, exportable and with a compelling premise.
"El Teniente Amado" is the the story of Lieutenant Amado Garcia. A young officer in the Dominican Army who is assigned to Trujillo's convoy and made his personal military assistant. Something that he proudly shares with his cousin, Salvador Estrella Sadhala (Liche Ariza) and his girlfriend/bride to be Carmen Soto (Mercedes Renard). Unbeknownst to Amado, his future brother in law Felix Soto is a Trujillo opposer and his cousin Salvador is part of a conspiracy to kill the Dictator. A conspiration that history shows, Amado would also join.
What follows is a very poorly edited film. The story takes place over two years since 1959 to June 2nd, 1961 and it all seems rushed. There are no transitions, just scene after scene thrown together. The acting was dis-par among the cast with some doing a good job like Liche Ariza and even with a caricature of Trujillo, Efrain Figueroa plays a convincing maniac. Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco plays a Dominican for the second time since 2007's Benchwarmers and this time it is not insulting. He talks like any Dominican in the Capital. The fault however is in the poor script.
Terribly simplistic dialog, a story that soon loses focus on the eponymous character and then turns completely into a murder Trujillo plot and an extreme lack of character exploring.
There are many instances in which the character of Amado could have been explored deeply. His relationship with Carmen, the position with Trujillo and more importantly his change of mind when deciding to kill the Dictator. Instead, what we get is a sudden change, characteristic of a very short feature. The whole movie seems like an ubber long short feature.
So with bad directing, average script writing from a first timer and disjointed editing, what keeps this movie interesting for non Dominicans who might not have an emotional connection to the Trujillo story, is the fine acting by some of the actors who make up the cast.
This is still quite possible the best Dominican film of the past two decades, but that is not saying much. It is a step forward, but a long road lies ahead.
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