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Laramie Movie Scope:
Stand Clear of the Sliding Doors

Little boy lost, underground

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 10, 2014 -- This story about a missing child is largely told from the child's point of view, often using unusual and imaginative camera techniques. It is the story of a lost autistic child, but that is a deceptively simple way to look at it. It is also a story about illegal immigrants struggling to keep their family together and it is about sibling rivalry, too.

The main character, Ricky (played by Jesus Sanchez-Velez) has a mild form of autism, but his mother, Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz) a housekeeper, is trying to keep him in a regular public school because she can't afford to take care of his special educational needs. Ricky's sister, Carla (Azul Zorrilla) resents the all the attention Ricky gets from Mariana. She has to make sure he gets home safely from school and has to clean up after him.

One day, Ricky wanders off on his way home. He follows a man who has an interesting design on the back of his coat and ends up lost in the vast New York subway system. Mariana is angry at Carla because she lost track of Ricky. The two go in search of him, along with Mariana's friend, Carmen (Marsha Stephanie Blake of “Django Unchained”).

As the hours and days pass, Mariana becomes more desperate and starts to lose hope. Ricky's father, Ricardo (Tenoch Huerta) who is working upstate, comes home to join the search, but his relationship with Mariana is strained over his absence and money problems. Because he is an illegal worker, his employer feels free to not to pay Ricardo his full pay on time.

Ricky rides the subway hour after hour, day after day, distracted by the people, the lights, the sounds, the signs. He is barely functional in this environment. He finds it a challenge to find food, water and restrooms. He is so quiet and withdrawn, he draws little notice from people.

Cinematographers Adam Jandrup and Ethan Palmer use a variety of thoughtful camera techniques like point of view, soft focus, lens flares, closeups of passing trains and reflections to give the viewer an impression of how Ricky sees his environment. The camera shows how easily distracted he is by small things, like a moth trapped in a light fixture.

Ricky is also artistic and is drawn to interesting shapes and patterns, like the overhead pipes in underground passageways. Ricky looks at a map of the subway system and sees interesting designs, rather than the information he needs to get home. He is lost in his own world inside his mind. No doubt these captivating visual choices were influenced by the film's director, Sam Fleischner, who is also a cinematographer.

Mariana becomes desperate enough to call the police, but they prove to be of no help. She and Carmen make posters about her missing son and post them around town (the family lives in Rockaway Beach, Queens) in places where Ricky likes to hang out. Meanwhile, Ricky has run out of money and food and the subway has shut down because Hurricane Sandy is about to strike the city.

This is a film that looks less complicated than it is. It is also fairly slow-moving, making it seem longer than it is. The acting is excellent by the entire cast, especially by Andrea Suarez Paz, who plays Mariana and by Jesus Sanchez-Velez, who plays Ricky. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2014 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)