Hugo Diego Garcia
Hugo Diego Garcia
For the first five minutes or so of "Tony" from writer, director Hugo Diego Garcia, I was skeptical I was going to enjoy this film. It felt a little indulgent - with what I believe were way too many establishing shots. Setting location is one thing, but piling on location shot after location shot, felt like a way to increase the length - not the story. At the very least it felt like overkill. As my expectations sank and sank I buckled in - this was going to be a long thirty five minutes. Or was it?
Within a few more minutes something strange happened. I was hooked. Line and sinker. "Tony" isn't just a film that takes place in the 1980's - it definitely has that '80's vibe happening as well. I mean that in the best possible way. With a flare for interesting visualizations and a good - if not depressingly open ended story, "Tony" takes a few minutes to get started but once it does... hold on to your smokes! Once in full gear, this film had no problem holding me captive to my screen. No problem at all.
Keeping things spoiler free, our leading character Tony has lived an interesting life. To say the least. One one hand, he has not grown up in poverty. His family - rather his Father, has done quite well and provided very nicely for his family. It's unfortunate that he's such a dick, and that his abusive nature has left Tony himself a conflicted young man. Despite being smart as a whip, Tony has been hanging around with the local thugs. Building a name for himself with those he sees as his true family. "Tony" is about life choices. Plain and simple. Take the quick road of violence to earn respect? Street credit? Or take the tough, slow road and become a valued member of society. It's easy to answer if you're on the outside looking in - much harder if you have to live it. Choices. As someone once said, get busy living or get busy dying. This is the essence of this movie.
Technically, this was a pretty slick film. Save the drawn out first few minutes, and possibly an overly long montage in the middle, "Tony" looks and sounds pretty decent. It also happens to be paced excellently... again, save the spots I mentioned above. The look and feel is definitely a wink to films from an earlier decade - but not in a cheap way. The visual choice didn't look to be made because of a less than stellar production. Rather because it made for a better story and better characters.
Although sub-titled, another area "Tony" really shines is the acting. The casting for this film was excellent - and every player felt like they weren't acting at all. I know I couldn't understand what they were saying - and relied on the sub-titles... but I'll tell you this. Even without the sub-titles, I probably could have understood most of what was happening. It was all over the characters faces, and in their tones. For a low budget indie flick - the portrayals felt amazing. Well done guys... well done.
At the end of the day? "Tony" could easily have pulled off a feature length production. The plot possibilities, that could have went along with what is already here, are endless. And clearly this troupe is more than capable. I enjoyed the open ended way this film finished, although it also frustrated me quite a bit. "Tony" is one of those flicks you just happen to stumble upon - and find yourself watching straight through until it's over. Solid and entertaining... what more is there? Four out of five stars.