20 May 2009
Movie Review: Mala Noche
I felt like, in some ways, I was watching parts of my late adolescences through one of those distortion filters in FinalCut Pro or Photoshop. I got it because as an adolescent I was much affected by My Own Private Idaho and liked Good Will Hunting and was interested to see his first movie.
Two different things in my adolescent came into a glittery combination which I found both disturbing and tragic.
The first is the white guy likes Asian or Latino guy phenomenon. The idea of older white men preying on younger Asian or Latino men always made me feel very uncomfortable. What made it more upsetting than just intergenerational couplings is that there seemed to be less social disapproval toward it -- legitimized child molestation! I once went on a date with this Taiwanese-Japanese guy who was a few years older than me and he lived off of the "allowance" that his older rich white boyfriends gave him -- even though his parents were very wealthy themselves. He had no feeling toward them except to collect a check and they had no feeling toward him -- he was an object they could molest.
In this movie, although the age difference is much smaller, there is still that element of a power differential played out through race and age. You have the white American guy who is legally in the country and has access to all of the goods in a convenience store using that access and his privileged position to seduce the younger, much poorer Latino guy into intimacy.
Then, you have the second aspect, the gay guy going for the straight guy. A clear dead end in terms of intimacy. There is no resolution or development of the main character's inability to develop any level of intimacy with a partner -- the whole story is cloaked in layers and layers of his power complex.
There is a scene where Walt, the main character, is locked out of his own car in the middle of nowhere with Johnny and Pepper, the two Mexican youths, driving the car forward away from him then stopping and opening the door and repeating the whole process and Walt chases after them. The whole movie is like this. Tragi-comic.