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Film Review: ‘I Promise You Anarchy’

Mexico City skateboarders participate in a blood-bank black market in Juan Hernandez Cordon's feature.

Diego Calva, Eduardo Martinez Pena, Shavasti Calderon, Oscar Mario Botello, Gabriel Casanoval, Sarah Minter, Martha Claudia Moreno, Diego Escamilla Coronona, Milkman, Erwin Jonathan Mora Alvarado, Juan Pablo Escalante, Daniel Adrian Mejia Aguirre, Mario Alberto Sanchez. (Spanish dialogue.)

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4863784/

A listless and drastically underdeveloped drama, “I Promise You Anarchy” scarcely begins to fulfill its title. Julio Hernandez Cordon’s (“Gasolina,” “Marimbas from Hell”) latest feature has an intriguing premise that brings together Mexico City skateboarders and a black-market trade in blood donation (necessitated by the constant violence of the nation’s drug cartels). But the underlying issues are barely explicated for offshore auds, while pic’s narrative strands go nowhere. Some gay content will land this minor niche programming value, but most viewers will find helmer’s mix of fiction and docu elements just don’t gel this time.

Handsome, broody Miguel (Diego Calva) has seemingly abandoned his middle-class background, though he’s quite the entrepreneur as chief orchestrator of an underground network that gets fellow skaters and other acquaintances “milked.” The red stuff presumably then gets shipped wherever drug-related crime requires medical attention off the official grid. It’s a lucrative trade for all, including Miguel’s punky, lower-class b.f. Johnny (Eduardo Martinez Pena), though the volatile latter seems more interested at present in his g.f. Adri (Shvasti Calderon), suggesting he might just be using Miguel as a cash cow. Maybe that’s the reason for Miguel’s perpetually sullen mood.

Something finally happens plot-wise when the two young men fill a large order for fifty blood donors, only to have them all shanghaied to god-knows-what fate by a shady, heavily armed crew they haven’t dealt with before. Even this abduction basically takes place offscreen, however, and viewers are left just as clueless about what happens to the victims as our panic-stricken heroes. Their central relationship is thrown into crisis, but as Hernandez never really allows any psychological insight, its dissolution is hard to care about.

Writer-helmer Hernandez Cordon seems to be primarily interested in the simple coolness of photographing non-pro actors (his leads were Facebook finds) skateboarding around the city. But these scenes, scored naturally to a mixtape of indie alt-rock tracks curated by the director himself, won’t provide sufficient raison d’être for most.

Perfs are OK, packaging suitably raw in feel but well-handled.

Film Review: 'I Promise You Anarchy'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2015. Running time: 90 MIN. (Original language title: "Te Prometo Anarquia.")

Production: (Mexico--Germany) An Interior XIII and Rohfilm production. (World sales: Latido Films, Madrid.) Produced by Maximiliano Cruz, Sandra Gomez, Julio Hernandez Cordon. Executive producers, Cruz, Gomez.

Crew: Directed, written by Julio Hernandez Cordon. Camera (color, HD), Maria Secco; editor, Mauricio Lenz Claure; music supervisor, Cordon; art director, Maria Elizabeth Medrano Freeman; costume designer, Andrea Manuel; sound recordist, Axel Munoz; sound designer, Alejandro de Icaza; 1st assistant director, Jose Ramon Chavez Delgado.

With: Diego Calva, Eduardo Martinez Pena, Shavasti Calderon, Oscar Mario Botello, Gabriel Casanoval, Sarah Minter, Martha Claudia Moreno, Diego Escamilla Coronona, Milkman, Erwin Jonathan Mora Alvarado, Juan Pablo Escalante, Daniel Adrian Mejia Aguirre, Mario Alberto Sanchez. (Spanish dialogue.)

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