Viewed – 30 August 2010 DVD
Anne Hathaway furthermore destroys that squeaky clean image that made her famous in teen comedies like The Princess diaries with this gritty urban drama following two bored young women, rebelling against their rich, privileged surroundings. After a drug-fueled trip into the crime filled district of East L.A. ends with Hathaway’s boyfriend almost getting shot by a gang of Latino hoodlums, Hathaway and best friend Bijou Phillips (Hostel: Part II) find the lure of the neighbourhood appealing, but soon discover their thirst for danger comes at a price.
Freddy Rodriguez plays the leader of the Spanish gang and brings some cool attitude to proceedings (even if the home boy posturing boarders on satire at times), and director Barbara Kopple offers a warts and all viewpoint on a subject that is all too familiar and well trodden. Hathaway surprised me, delivering much of the sincerity and range showcased in the acclaimed Rachel Getting Married, and wasn’t (like Bijou too) afraid of getting naked either. Yet this overly-familar movie (see: Thirteen) feels like just one of a crowd, with the Latino gangs portrayed stereotypically, with few redeeming features … and it would have been better if Rodriguez showed a little more humanity than the one-note thug he is becoming type-cast as. It also plays things too safe, having little guts to show the true consequences of the two girls actions, therefore diluting the movie’s attempt at social commentary.
For style, a pumping soundtrack and some decent acting, this passes the time – but for me it lacked the balls to really deliver.
Verdict: 3 /5