Pedro

"Good"

Pedro Review


Stirring writing and acting helps overcome bland TV-movie production values to bring this true story to life. Even as it turns the central figure into a saint, we recognise the extraordinary nature of what he did.

In 1994, Cuban-born Pedro Zamora (Loynaz) was cast in MTV's Real World because producers wanted to shake things up with a housemate who was HIV-positive. At 21, this bright young man is already an outspoken gay activist, and the reality show house is split when the homophobic Puck (Barr) turns on him. But the rest of the residents come over to Pedro's side, and by the time he dies of Aids-related causes while the programme is airing, they have taken up his campaign.

Structured out of sequence with to-camera interviews, exactly like Black's Milk script, this story unfolds for maximum political and emotional effect. There's a sharp honesty that confronts attitudes and situations face-on, drawing out the deeper themes. So the characters emerge into fascinating people we identify with, most notably Appleman's Judd, a housemate who really catches Zamora's vision for education and activism, even though he's straight.

Even though the film doesn't allow for any character shadings, Loynaz is superb as Zamora. He's an almost flawless hero from start to finish, only tainted by his under-reaction to the rampant homophobia around him, including from his sister (Machado) and other family members who refuse to accept his boyfriend (Johnson). But his message that HIV/Aids is a health issue, not religious or moral, comes through strongly. And his unapologetic approach to his life and work, especially through events shown in flashback, is seriously inspirational.

In fact, this is such a bold, moving story that it's a shame it's told in such a lacklustre way. The direction and editing are clean, but never give the film either sharp edges or a sense of artistry. It's extremely clean and tidy, overlit and shot mainly in close-ups, which limits its scope. The filmmakers also seem to brush off the more unsettling elements in favour of emotional sentimentality, which is admittedly raw, powerful and, in the end, well-earned.

But you do miss the more inventive filmmaking approach of someone like Gus Van Sant.



Pedro

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st April 2009

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nick Oceano

Producer: Anne Clements, , Chris Panizzon, Wash Westmoreland


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Advertisement
Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Ant-Man Movie Review

Ant-Man Movie Review

The increasingly stale Marvel formula gets a blast of fresh air in this rollocking adventure...

Love & Mercy Movie Review

Love & Mercy Movie Review

An unusually inventive approach brings this story to life, as the filmmakers get into the...

Ted 2 Movie Review

Ted 2 Movie Review

Fans of the surprise 2012 hit Ted will find plenty to love in this sequel,...

Advertisement