Angel Rodriguez is a realist film that covers a 36-hour snapshot of the lives of two people: a troubled young man and his guidance counsellor.
I have to admit right off the top that this type of film is not my bag ï¿½ realism to me pretty much means boring. While there may great artistic merit to writer-director Jim McKayï¿½s little film, itï¿½s not particularly entertaining. Interesting, maybe.
Angel is a young man struggling with life in the inner city. His father has kicked him out of the house, and the film follows the story of Angel and his guidance counsellor, Nicole, whoï¿½s trying to help him. With Angel only a step away from life on the streets, and Nicole newly pregnant, both characters are at turning points in their lives.
So what happens? Nothing. Well, maybe something. This film isnï¿½t really about plot progressing, but more about presenting a situation to viewers and testing their assumptions. Even what little plot there is here is not explained so much as it is presented for us to figure out. Itï¿½s this sort of investigative quality to the film that kept me watching for the whole 86 minutes. Unfortunately, when it was finished, I was left feeling empty. Thereï¿½s no payoff to the story.
Jim McKay gives his viewers plenty of time to think about the film while itï¿½s playing, as there are plenty of sequences with no dialogue and very little action. Thatï¿½s the wonderfulness of realism at work, and while the film certainly does feel real while Nicole (Rachel Griffiths) washes her face for a bit, and then messes around with her hair, it makes for a boring experience.
I donï¿½t know that I would recommend this film to anyone. I imagine that the people whoï¿½ll really like it will find their way without my two cents. If you like your movies entertaining with stories that go somewhere, donï¿½t bother with Angel Rodriguez
Angel Rodriguez is presented on a single disc in 1.78:1 (16:9) widescreen format. The transfer looks pretty good, with fairly sharp picture and natural colours. I did notice some graininess in darker scenes, but nothing too bad.
The menus are static, with music.
This film has no score. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix doesnï¿½t get a lot do, with minimal dialogue and ambient sound being the only audio going on. Whatï¿½s there is clear, but be ready for a quiet, quiet film.
Audikjo is also available in Spanish (2.0), with English, Spanish and French subtitles offered.
The bonus material includes a short making-of featurette and an audio commentary by writer-director Jim McKay.
The Making of Angel Rodriguez is a short featurette at under four minutes, and itï¿½s a true HBO effort. In other words, more of promo than a behind-the-scenes piece.
The audio commentary with Jim McKay is more substantive. McKay makes an effort to offer up a decent combination of insight and amusing or interesting anecdotes, like the one about the guy impersonating a federal officer. McKay makes it clear that he doesnï¿½t want to explain the film, as he hopes it can speak for itself. Overall, this track is worth listening to if you enjoyed the film.
Angel Rodriguez might be a good film, but Iï¿½m not the guy to say so either way. Iï¿½m willing to be that the majority of movie fans will find it boring, but someone into film realism might find something to like here. The DVD presentation is about average, but a bit too light on extras.
Special Features List
- The Making of Angel Rodriguez
- Audio commentary with writer/director Jim McKay