Written By Kelly Stifora
This is an independent about a young Latino kid’s struggle to become a man in Chicago’s Little Village, where his older brother is the head of the Brotherhood, a local gang. A cast full of non-actors and a meandering, often-pointless script drag down this effort from first time director Jaun J. Fasto. And the trip to disc doesn’t save it.
The film opens with an intriguing murder scene, but it’s straight downhill from there. Ceaser O’Campo (Felipe Camacho), the young pro…agonist struggles to gain acceptance from his brother, Kiko (Alberto Viruena) and his peers while Kiko struggles to keep him away from the gang life. The film wanders all over the place, with dialogue that is in turns overly obvious and impossible to follow. It’s unfortunate that this type of “life in the ‘hood” story line already seems so overdone, so that now gritty films such as this one (Fasto grew up in Little Village) would pack the kind of emotional punch that they should.
Not so good. Although both 2.0 stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround are available, it seems that the problems with much of the sound in Drive By began on the set. In many scenes the dialogue is muddy and difficult to understand, and even in 5.1, the whole affair comes off rather flat. This is most unfortunate in the case of the films score, which is an oddly appealing mixture of Latino music, hip-hop and electronica.
Again, we’re talking ultra low budget, thus this Drive By is a pretty bumpy ride. Dark scenes are too dark, and daylight scenes have a look that could be a deliberate tint… or the result of forgetting to use a filter. Director of Photography Gennaldi Balitski’s work is often clichéd, but sufficient. Surprisingly enough, this transfer was at least presented in 16×9 anamorphic widescreen.
Considering the amplitude of the film, this disc has an impressive set of special features. Deleted scenes, a music video, a trailer, a photo gallery, screen tests, director and co-writer/co-producer (Vincente Zuniga C.) commentaries… all are here. The only question is will you want to watch any of it?
Long live independent filmmaking! But heaven help those who have to sit through all of it.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Video
- Production Stills
- Screen Tests