R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (19th November 2007).
The Film

This 2006 drama follows two couples over the course of one long day and night in a run down Acapulco. Young Chano is kind of a dirt bag. He stole some money from his girlfriend Fernanda's father, and then he split town to work on a cruise ship. He comes back to Acapulco two months later, finds Fernanda (Diana Garcia) in a cafe, follows her home against her wishes, and then forces himself on her. She eventually relents and then finally admits that she misses him, even as he is slyly swiping coins from her dresser. They get back together and screw some more. Then she decides that he needs to take her away to a better place. Problem is that sexy Fernanda has another boyfriend named Gonzalo (Juan Pablo Castaneda) who is none too happy with the situation.
In the meantime, a middle aged businessman named Jaime (Fernando Becerril) quits his job under no uncertain terms. Trashing his computer and dropping a gob of spit on your boss's desk definitely sends the intended message. He collects some money and a gun from home, kisses his daughter goodbye, and goes to the beach to shoot himself, or drown himself, or both. He is robbed by a chubby young girl of perhaps fourteen-years named Tigrillo (Miriana Moro), who has been abandoned by her friends. They're 'Yahairas', girls who scam the American tourists out of their cash without actually sleeping with them. Or something like that. Before Jaime realizes that Tigrillo has robbed him, he takes a shining to her, finding her attempts at toughness to be charming. They run around Acapulco together and have a laugh, but in the end, Jaime is still intent on offing himself.
The two stories eventually converge in a loose sort of way, but "Drama/Mex" is not exactly "Pulp Fiction" (1994) in that regard! It is entertaining enough, with an alternately broken hearted and outraged performance by Castaneda, a nice turn by Becerril as a man on the brink of suicide, and a suitably precocious performance by young Moro. Garcia is extremely easy on the eyes, but neither she nor her foil Valdes seem to have given everything they've got in the first reel of the film and don't get to stretch much acting muscle after that.
The main problem with "Drama/Mex" is the camerawork. Cinematographer Tobias Datum prefers to shoot every single frame of the film with camera in hand. A shaky camera is fine as an effect, but when the entire movie is shot with a constant jitter, it can make for a grating experience. There are also major problems with exposure and focus in places. A lot of the edits are a bit jarring as well. I suppose that this isn't of key importance here; as the title implies "Drama/Mex" is a character drama first and foremost, and as such it's 93-minute running time is perfectly watch able.


The source print is a bit spotty for such a recent film, but other than the occasional bits of dust, the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer looks fine, considering the source material.


Audio is in Spanish only, and in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The audio is perfectly fine with clear dialogue, there's limited range considering this is a stereo mix, but this film would have not really benefited with a 5.1 track as it's a character driven film with a focus on the dialogue rather than an intricate sound mix.
Subtitles are English and cannot be turned off. The subtitles are below the picture (not superimposed over it) so if you watch the film on a widescreen television you'll either miss the subtitles or have to deal with matte lines on all four sides of the image.


Genius Products has released this film with extras that include only the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 50 seconds and a bonus trailer for "Deep Water" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.


The Film: B- Video: B Audio: B Extras: F Overall: D+


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