Jun/2017

Film Review: ‘Escobar: Paradise Lost’!

by Gumbercules9000 on Jun 26th, 2015

Fernando M., Here…

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This is a tough one.  I’m guessing this falls into the genre of historical fiction.  Director/Writer Andrea Di Stefano created this story out of a short phrase he heard once.  “This kid got involved with the Escobar family and got into some trouble.”  From this small excerpt, Di Stefano drafted a tale of a young Candaian, Nick, (Josh Hutcherson) who gets romantically involved with one of Pablo Escobar’s nieces and becomes a member of “the family.”

The pros in this film are big.  Benicio Del Toro completely owns this film as Pablo Escobar.  He is charismatic, enigmatic, psychopathic, a perfect emulation of what a drug kingpin with hugely political and criminal influence has to be.  His delivery of every line is smooth and textured, terrifying in the ease in which he can order a murder as easily as he can ask for dinner.  The direction is top notch with beautiful shots of Colombia, high tension dramatic moments, soft flashbacks, and riveting action.

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Did that last sentence seem to have a lot of genres that don’t usually fit well together?  Well, that’s the downfall of the film.  The film strives to be too many things and quickly devolves into a caricature of itself.  It feels like a biopic, and then becomes a Tom Clancy-esque movie.  The violence is supposed to show the ruthlessness of Escobar, but it feels like it cannot be justified by the unrealistic plot.

If this were a showcase of Di Stefano’s future as a director, then I would call it a success.  For a first time big screener, he displays an ease with the camera and control of his actors.  As a showcase of his writing capabilities, well, he may want to let that one go.

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There’s a lot of good here, and if nothing else, an affirmation that Benicio Del Toro graces everything he does.  Ultimately, you can’t really ascertain what the point of the movie was; it probably would have worked a lot better by cutting out any part of the plot that does not directly involve Escobar.

2.5 out of 5 Stars

– Fernando Martinez

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