Alejandro Polanco, Isamar Gonzales
A young Latino boy, Ale (Polanco), living on the streets of New York, takes a job at a small car repair shop and is allowed to live there by the owner. Ale (pronounced Ah-lee) gets his sister to come live with him too. They have a dream of making enough money to buy an old ice cream truck, fix it up, and sell food from it. Though, Ale does not approve of the way his sister, Isamar (Gonzales), decides to make some extra money.
I’ll say one thing for this movie. It certainly took me into a world I’d never experienced before. I don’t know how much, if any of it, was footage of real chop shops at work, but it all seemed very authentic. It definitely was shot on real locations, right next to Shea Stadium in fact, and I wasn’t always sure who were actors and who weren’t. Looking at imdb.com, I can see that many of the people involved have only this movie credited to their name, including the two leads.
I could definitely see some of the actors, particularly the younger ones being directed at times. It sounded like lines being read off a page occasionally rather than real words a kid would say. Plus, some of the long, thoughtful looks Ale gives are hardly authentic.
The story about them trying to save enough money for the ice cream truck has a predictably depressing ending, but the journey there is really the point. Seeing Ale running around to various places, earning money any way he could reminded me of Christian Bale as Jim in Empire of the Sun. Both kids know how to work people for what they need, and would even resort to stealing at times, but both also have a lot to learn about life and who they can trust.
I liked the look of the movie, the world it brought me into, and some aspects of the storyline, but overall it didn’t get me very engrossed in the characters’ lives. I have to wonder if maybe more experienced actors would have created more of a connection to me, the viewer. Oddly enough, that might have added even more realism, since I wouldn’t have been noticing the poor dialogue readings as much.
Old ice cream trucks are really expensive to renovate.
10 – 2 for some distracting moments of poor acting – 1.5 for having no real connection to the characters + .2 for realism of the setting = 6.7