Sundance Review: Padre Nuestro
by Alex Billington
January 30, 2007
Although at the time of writing this review the film has won the Grand Jury award, I was not aware of that at the time of my screening. Despite the award, I still think that Padre Nuestro is not the greatest film of the festival, and although one of the most original, is still too hopeless to be counted as a masterpiece. In Padre Nuestro, a film almost entirely in Spanish, two adolescents, Juan (Armando Hernandez) and Pedro (Jorge Adrian Espindola), meet on a truck while illegally traveling from Mexico to New York City. Pedro is looking for find his father and when the truck arrives he finds that Juan has stolen all he has and assumes his identity to trick Pedro's father throughout the movie. Padre Nuestro is a very original, very dark and shadowy drama that is unexpected at every minute.
The biggest issue with Padre Nuestro is that is consistently depressing and repetitive and ends on a downright hopeless and disheartening note. I appreciate the story and the language, which shows the infusion of world culture into American culture, even through poverty, and applaud the performances by the entire cast. Similar to The Departed, you are jerked back and forth between the two stories and never know what to expect at each turn. There is a subtlety that is required in order to actually sit down and really enjoy watching this depressing and hopeless film, and I just didn't have that. Padre Nuestro is a very well made film, but too many people will find its subject matter either troublesome or too depressing to actually enjoy.
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