A furiously-paced, well-intentioned fight item about a go-getting gang of barrio girls that forces Ken Loach, feminism and Rocky into an uneasy partnership, "By Force" starts out looking somewhat punch-drunk but sharpens considerably over the final rounds.

A furiously-paced, well-intentioned fight item about a go-getting gang of barrio girls that forces Ken Loach, feminism and Rocky into an uneasy partnership, “By Force” starts out looking somewhat punch-drunk but sharpens considerably over the final rounds. Despite featuring handy perfs and social conscience, the surfeit of characters and storylines demand an agility the script does not possess, leaving the plot looking wobbly and characterization lightweight. Pic’s unusual premise could attract interest from Spain-friendly territories.

Twentysomethings Maria (Natalia Verbeke) and buddies Juanita (Juana Acosta), Mena (Maria Vazquez), Vicky (Marian Alvarez) and Nitzia (Zay Nuba) hang out in a poor neighborhood in south Madrid. Parental abuse victim Maria boxes at a gym run by Mariano (Alfredo Villa), Juanita is pregnant by boxer Fran (Daniel Guzman), Vicky has just come out of jail, and Nitzia is a Moroccan immigrant. These situations show the range of social criticism the pic optimistically tackles via a plotline whose elements of implausibility sit uneasily next to its professed realism. Nevertheless, perfs are sometimes aces, particularly from Acosta and the superbly committed Verbeke, while the mostly high-energy air is genuinely infectious. Lensing is suitably high-grain.

By Force

Spain

Production

A Sony Pictures release (in Spain) of an Enrique Cerezo P.C. production with the participation of TVE, Canal Plus. (International sales: Enrique Cerezo, Madrid). Executive producer, Enrique Cerezo. Directed by Juan Vicente Cordoba. Screenplay, Cordoba, Maria Reyes Arias.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Teo Delgado; editor, Pablo Blanco; music, Guateque All Stars. Reviewed at Renoir Cuatro Caminos, Madrid, Nov. 9, 2005. Running time: 113 MIN.

With

Natalia Verbeke, Daniel Guzman, Juana Acosta, Maria Vazquez, Marian Alvarez, Zay Nuba, Andres Gertrudis, Alfredo Villa, Maria Reyes.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0