JESÚS- Film Review- Powerful Tale of Family Bond

Who do you turn to in a time of need?

For many of us, the answer would automatically be “family”—but is that always the best choice?

This film follows Jesús (Nicolás Durán), a teen living in Santiago, Chilé who spends his time getting into trouble with his friends. Meanwhile, his fed up widower father (Alejandro Goic) rarely comes home anymore. When Jesús and his friends push the limits and take it too far by accidentally killing an openly homosexual teenager late at night in a park, he has no one to turn to besides his father.

Chilean Director, Fernando Guzzoni follows the main characters of the film in a documentary style filmmaking, with shaky and messy camera work that enhances the thrilling nature of the film. The first half of the film follows Jesus as he tries in typical teen fashion to discover himself. He gets mixed up with drugs, alcohol, and violence along the way. The second half of the film follows Jesus’ father as he tries to come to grips with who his son has become, and attempts to right his son’s wrongs.

A gripping story inspired by a true story, JESÚS tugs at heart strings as we watch the title character desperately cling to the already fractured relationship with the one person he believes he can trust, his father.

Throughout the film, we can’t help but question whom to root for because every character has serious flaws that makes us feel bad for even considering rooting for them. However, as we discover each of their back stories, this film helps foster our empathy for the imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes, we think.  Then again, how can we possibly encourage someone who has done something so horribly irreversible?

This reviewer won’t tell you how this truly powerful film ends but do know to brace yourself for heartbreak throughout. Nicolás Durán’s gritty performance allows us to feel for a flawed character who has seriously lost his way in life and wants to make it right. We are left with a nagging question- But is it too late?

JESÚS does not disappoint for those looking for a dramatic story with interesting characters. However, this film at times has slow pacing. It will not get to the point as some, including this writer, might like.  The storyline gets all of its action in the second act. Also, if you have a problem with sexually explicit scenes, this film will not be your cup of tea. Although increasing the depth of the character, the scenes may seem plucked in to create a wow factor.  

WHEN and WHERE:

JESÚS held its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival, and went on to play numerous festivals, including the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Miami International Film Festival, and the Cleveland International Film Festival. JESÚS held its US premiere at the Neighboring Scenes Series held by the Film Society of the Lincoln Center in New York City.

The film will open theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on September 1,  New Orleans on September 8, with other markets to follow leading up to the DVD/VOD release on September 19.

Photos courtesy of: Breaking Glass Pictures

 

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