What helps cement Ricardo Sean Thompson's surreal film is a super talented ensemble cast boasting some of the best acting I've ever seen from a group of unknowns and a sprinkling of familiar faces. First up is Judy Marte who plays the lead character, a poet named Phoenix who is the "Alice" in the rabbit hole. She navigates us through this crazy universe wherein anything can happen and it does. Marte delivers a truly amazing and controlled performance as a character always on the verge of suicide but still trying to hold on to even the slightest string of hope that there is a reason she belongs on this Earth. This is the first I've ever heard of Judy Marte, but I look forward to seeing her in more films. She's the personification of grace and understated beauty.
Next is Gleendilys Inoa who plays Isis, the "Mad Hatter" of the story. She is insanity in its purest form and skillfully performed by Inoa. The fact that Inoa looks as if she's 15 years old and wears a Catholic School Uniform while committing some of the most disturbing acts I've seen on screen, adds to the tension of AKOC. Just like the Joker in Dark Knight, she is the epitome of chaos and Inoa delivers a Heath Ledger like performance.
Next comes Michael Rivera, the Devil of the story who ironically plays a character named Angel. Rivera's smart, dark ,comedic timing, and his delivery of Thompson's witty dialogue makes you laugh at times and then catches you off guard when he quickly reminds you of how dangerous he actually is.
Up next is Manny Perez playing Tony, a character I can't even begin to describe in its totality with the maximum 1000 word limit that IMDb enforces. Just imagine if Gollum from Lord Of The Rings and Ratso from Midnight Cowboy had a child, it would be Manny Perez' performance of Tony. Not once while delivering this strange and complicated character did I feel Manny Perez was acting. Fortunately I saw his other film La Soga to know he was.
Last and far from least is the most surprising performance to me. Adam Rodriguez, yup Erik Delko from CSI:Miami, playing a heavy in this low budget film. Rodriguez really blew me away. I only saw him as the Latin lover type from CSI and Tyler Perry films, but he is far more talented than those projects project him to be. In AKOC, he is cold, evil, and calculated. Something that I could never picture him or any of those pretty boy types of ever delivering in a credible way. I hope this leads to him being in more films where he's playing against type.
AKOC in it's most basic box cover breakdown is about a drug deal gone wrong and several characters trying to get back the drugs while causing a whole lot of problems for everyone else along the way. But the film is far more than that. It's really and truly about karma and writer/director Ricardo Sean Thompson, along with the performances from his incredible cast, did an excellent job of delivering this without spoon feeding his audience. Take a trip down the rabbit hole, you wont be disappointed. I give this a 10 out of 10.