Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Movie with Abe: Water and Power

Water and Power
Directed by Richard Montoya
Released January 20, 2015

There are some films that take their concepts more literally than others. Director Richard Montoya’s is a look at the inner workings of East Los Angeles and how the city itself functions from the bottom to the top. Water and power are not the most valuable and important resources, however, but actual people, one a state senator and the other an LAPD cop, brothers whose father, an employee of the city’s Department of Water and Power of Los Angeles, gave them those unique nicknames. It’s certainly a gritty look at the underbelly of the city and a dark vision of how business and justice are accomplished on the streets.

Water and Power are introduced as characters in a story told by the film’s narrator, portrayed by Emilio Rivera, who stuck around “Sons of Anarchy” for most of its lifetime as Mayan leader Marcos Alvarez. Art form and poetry are emphasized in the way that he regales the audience with this tale, which initially seems like a fable and gradually becomes more lifelike and literal, as Water and Power are referred by their monikers by all the players in their lives.

“Water and Power” beats along to a furious drum in a picture of Los Angeles in tune with “Nightcrawler,” assuming that the city lives and breathes depravity just beneath the surface. Water and Power are so deeply entrenched in their communities that nearly everyone knows them, and when things fall apart for the brothers, they’re left to fend for themselves as the city’s most dangerous enforcers on both sides of the law set their sights on holding these two accountable for the series of events they have wrought.

As characters, Water and Power are undeniably interesting. Water is best compared to Nathan Petrelli from “Heroes,” a well-dressed, smooth-talking politician who has managed to rise above his meager upbringing. Nicholas Gonzalez’s Power, on the other hand, is a hot-tempered street cop whose emotions definitely get the better of him and who doesn’t have the foresight to understand the gravity of his situation until it’s too late. The film is stolen by an actor known for chewing scenery, Clancy Brown, who delivers his most memorable turn since “Carnivale” as an influential magnate in a position to turn things around for the brothers. There’s plenty of intrigue to be found in this film, but its grim, brutal starkness doesn’t make it very accessible.


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