Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(Ecuador/Mexico, 2004)

A dramatic film made in Ecuador. Ecuador? It’s one of those countries that, unless you’ve actually been there, you probably only know through memorizing the name of its capital city. (Quito.) I probably know more about Ecuador’s more interesting possession, the Galapagos Islands, than I do about the country itself. Well, turns out it can’t be distinguished, by my eye, anyway, from Brazil, Peru, or Colombia. But at least I’ve now seen an Ecuadorian film.

This has a pretty harrowing opening, involving the death of a child and a very violent attempted lynching. A serial killer of children is on the loose, and he’s claimed over 150 victims. The story is about the news crew who begins to think a man unjustly imprisoned for hitting a child with his car is, in fact, the serial killer. Through complex machinations, they find themselves in a morally indefensible situation concerning journalistic ethics and simple humanity. They don’t handle it well.

The film seems to lose steam about 2/3 through, but it’s not bad. The main thing I remember is thinking, “At last, that wonderfully talented and versatile actor, John Leguizamo, is making a film in his native Spanish!” Imagine my surprise to discover that, though he can understand it pretty well, he barely speaks it at all! He was born in Colombia but his family moved to New York when he was very young. He just preferred English. So most of his performance—very good, as usual, and he just refuses to be typecast—was line readings with a dialogue coach.