An award winner at 2008 Sundance, this gritty film may be weak on the plot credibility side, but strong on street realism and hardscrabble realities. Two illegal Mexican immigrants are let loose on the streets of New York, one hustler has stolen the identity of the other and both are now in search of the same man – one to find his long lost father, the other to use him as a possible mark.
It’s the characterizations that make the film, and especially some of the relationships. The ripped off Pedro attempts to befriend the at first reluctant hooker/junkie Magda (a wonderful performance by Paola Mendoza). Pedro and Magda work their way through the barriers between them and end up with a certain fondness for each other. Meanwhile, Juan has located Pedro’s father and begins to play him, a hard case, bitter loner. These two dynamics are at the heart of the movie. In fact, the characterizations mostly overcome the thin and somewhat gimmicky plot.