Looking up at a red sky anything can happen; and in the motion picture "El Cielo Rojo" written and directed by Miguel Alejandro Gomez, just about anything does happen as we follow the journey of four best friends while they struggle with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. Through the journey of the characters, we are able to sympathize with the confusion of graduating high school, the struggle with losing a loved one, and the pain that comes along with caring about someone who doesn't feel the same way. It's a great movie that is easy for anybody to relate to who has ever experienced the struggles of growing up.
The movie was shot in the Costa Rican provinces of San Jose, Puntarenas, Guanacaste, and Alajuela in the summer of 2007. It is a story about four close friends living in Costa Rica, Bernie (Mauricio Dapena), Manuel (Ricardo Rodriguez), Nestor (Edgar Roman), and Roberto (Allan Obando) as they struggle with the confusion and uncertainness of graduating high school. As each character goes through their own personal obstacles, they realize that in order to pass the tests life gives them, they must not only rely on their inner strength, but also the support and encouragement from close friends and family.
In my opinion, the actor's did a good job acting especially keeping into consideration that there were only three professional actors in the film. Each of the boys especially did a good job bringing each of their personalities to the film and blending well together as a group. The fact that they aren't professional actors made the characters more believable as average Costa Rican teenagers because we got to take a look at how normal teenagers would act in the situations they are given without being jaded from acting training, making the story easier to relate to and sympathize with. The only professional actors in the film were the parents of Roberto and while they did a good job acting, I thought they were a bit too charismatic and enthusiastic with their acting, making the contrast between the non-professionals and professionals awkward, and the professionals seeming a bit fake. However, overall I think the success of the movie depended a lot on the acting due to the fact that the plot was so simple, and the actors as a whole did a good job of conveying the realness needed in this film.
The overall straightforward plot of the movie, made the story easy to follow and understand. The multiple provinces of Costa Rica that were used and the typical slang and jokes of a "tico" stayed true to the Costa Rican roots of the movie, which added a community and familiar feeling to the film. However, it was a low budget independent film, which was evident with the unstable and choppy camera movements, making it hard to concentrate on the actual story at those times. For example, there is a scene where an "artsy" technique of spinning the camera around the boys while they were on the phone, didn't strike me as something artsy and unique, it just made me dizzy and made it hard to concentrate at that specific moment in the movie. Also, some other effects that were used didn't seem blended well enough to contribute to the movie in a positive way, they mostly seemed awkward and out of place, even the scene when the sky turned red, although it relates to the title it seemed out of place and random. The special effects were also low budget, which was clearly evident, such as the explosion at the end, making it very unbelievable, but in a way still added to the movie by being comical. Although some small changes could have been made to make the film better as with every motion picture, it was overall a great film, with good morals, good acting, and entertaining plot, and provides a good laugh.
I enjoyed the overall message and theme that this movie conveyed. It emphasized the importance of close friends and family to help through the tough times of growing up. I think this theme is universal and easily relatable regardless of age gender, or race. The theme was very significantly conveyed, allowing everyone to finish the movie each person, taking away the same basic message. It is an important theme that everyone experiences at some point in their lives.
Although this movie is relatable to anyone over the age of around 15, I think the main target audience for this movie is specifically targeted toward teens between the ages ages of 17 and 18. However, I would recommend it to adults too because they would still be able to relate to the trials of being a teenager, bringing back the nostalgic feeling of childhood, and having a laugh while being reminded of the confusion and stupid mistakes that they made as a teenager through watching this movie. I would not recommend this movie to kids under 15 years old because I think the scenes of drinking and smoking marijuana are inappropriate for children of that age group. I also think the scene of the rape was graphic and could be disturbing for some younger viewers. I would say that this movie should be rated PG-13, to make sure the viewer is mature enough for the content of the movie. However, overall this is a good movie with good morals and themes for everyone to appreciate.
Rating: *** out of ***** stars
Erica Jacquez is just ending her first semester of being a high school senior. She was raised in California, but has been living in Costa Rica for two years. Her favorite types of movies are comedies and psychological thriller, but she pretty much appreciates any well-made movie. She is looking forward to college, hoping to end up in UCLA to minor in linguistics and major in psychology.
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