“All Night Bodega” is a downbeat look at a troubled teenager who, desperate for love, falls into a life of crime. Though saddled with an unnecessarily complicated script, French director Felix Olivier does a good job of capturing the flavor of Spanish Harlem and of showing how easy it is for someone with meager options to go down the wrong path. Pic should see some action at ethnic film fests.
When Venus (Tammy Trull), a tough young Latina teenager being raised by her foster mother, Eta (Blanca Camacho), is mistakenly arrested, she befriends a gang member Juanita (an excellent Romi Dias), who protects her from a male cellmate in the jail’s holding cell. Ralph (Jaime Tirelli), an undercover cop who’s dating Eta, springs Venus from jail, but when she gets home, she has a huge blowout with Eta and moves out. With nowhere to go, she hooks up with Juanita, now on the outside, joining her gang and starting a romantic relationship with her. When they set up and rob Ralph’s young partner (Gabriel Salvador), Venus falls for him and wants out of the gang. Spanish hip-hop soundtrack is flavorful.