Pedro

"Very 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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.