Cinema Hold Up (The) AKA Asalto al cine AKA The Boys from Guerrero City
R2 - United Kingdom - Simply Media
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (8th February 2016).
The Film

Negus (Gabino Rodriguez), Chale (Juan Pablo de Santiago), Sapo (Angel Sosa) and Chata (Paulina Avalos) are four teenage friends who hang out together. They live in an impoverished area in the town and are constantly bored. To relieve the boredom they resort to graffiti and smoking weed. The police are constantly hassling them. One day, after sneaking in to the cinema without paying they are caught and thrown out. On the long walk back home the four friends concoct and idea about robbing the cinema. At first the discussion is played out at a fantasy level but as they days go by and their lives do not improve the idea becomes more appealing. In the background family matters for the four are at an all time low as the Electric Company where most people in their town work is taken over by the Government and their families are laid off after a long and bitter strike. With no jobs and no prospects the four friends start to take the idea of robbing the cinema seriously. Negus takes pictures on his phone inside the cinema and draws up an extensive map. Chata, Negusí girlfriend waits in the foyer and cases the managerís office. Chale and Sapo sit outside at the end of the cinemaís business day and take note of the movements of the staff. Sapo manages to get his hand on a real gun whilst the rest of the gang have to make to do replica weapons procured by Chata. Despite some initial nerves the robbery goes to plan and the gang successfully make their getaway. Flushed with success, and money, the four friends finally get down to spending their ill gotten gains and looking forward to how it will change their lives, but change their lives it will be not in the way they anticipated.

First time film Director Iria Gomez Concheiro manages to pull off ĎThe Cinema Hold Upí with some panache. Whilst the film seems initially to be about disenchanted teenagers turns into something a lot more meaningful and, at times, amusing. The build up to the robbery is quite long and slow. Much of the screen time in the first hour is spent seeing how the friends are picked on by those all around them including family members, neighbours, and the Police. Whilst the scenes can be, at times, rather overdrawn they are important to the plot and pay off at the end. The teenagers themselves are quite an affable bunch and the viewer cannot help siding with their cause despite the notion of robbery being repugnant to the majority of us. The robbery itself is extremely well directed. Whilst not exactly in the same class it is reminiscent of the near silent robbery in the classic film ďRififiĒ. The director holds onto shots skilfully allowing the tension to mount and then when the robbery finally gets going the action explodes and the gang nearly trip themselves up once or twice. Itís the denouement of the film that really puts everything that the viewer has just watched into context (as it should do) and leaves the viewer with the same bitter after taste that the characters must have been tasting in a rather ironic way.


The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic. The colours of the picture are on the faded side and at times bright scenes seem, occasionally, to be crawling with digital artefacts but nothing too distracting. The night time scenes hold up reasonably well and whilst the picture quality is far from demonstration quality itís acceptable.


The viewer has two choices. The first is the 5.1 Dolby Digital option. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo option for those that do not have the ability to play the 5.1 track. The 5.1 track is under ambitious. The rears and the woofer do not come in to play hardly at all. The only time the system got anywhere near a full work out was during music and rapping scenes. The 2.0 track is perfectly adequate and if truth be told I could not hear much difference between the two. English subtitles are provided for the Spanish language track but this is dialogue subtitles only. They can be switched off if the viewer so desires.




Whilst at times the opening hour of this film can see over ponderous I can certainly understand the Directorís intentions once I had seen the whole film. Those who are new to the movie will simply have to have patience but I am happy to report that this patience does pay off in the end. Itís a thought provoking film and extremely well acted by itís young cast. The Director does a good job of keeping things intimate yet not overbearing. The robbery is very well staged on film and the suspense increases minute by minute and this is a testament to the script writer, the actors and the Director. If the robbery scenes had not been believable the entire film would have collapsed around it but thankfully this is not the case. Recommend.

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


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