Lin-Manuel Miranda took the world by storm with the launch of the musical “Hamilton”, which topped the Broadway stages, won dozens of awards (including the Tony Award for Best Musical) and arrived there. few months in the Disney + catalog, placing one of the entertainment industry’s most interesting names under the mainstream radar. Since then, the actor, songwriter and producer has been involved in many high-caliber projects including ‘Moana’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ – but before all that, Miranda had already lent her skills to the famous’ In the Heights ”. , which exponentially increased Latin representation in the United States.
A decade and a half after the play’s official release in 2005, Warner Bros. acquired the intellectual rights to the work and started an ambitious project that would take nearly two years to reach cinemas around the world. And so was born ‘In a New York Neighborhood’, a feature film directed by Jon M. Chu (the mind behind the incredible ‘Runners of the Rich’) that promised to take us away from the tense moment of pandemic in which we let’s go on living and bringing some joy through such dark months. However, with the exception of the filmmaker’s excellent conduct and impeccable choreography, the result was not exactly what we expected, relying on the obvious and sharp cuts to the original narrative that l ‘have changed completely (and for the worse, I must say).
The plot takes place in Washington Heights, a district of New York where Latino communities are concentrated who have migrated to the United States in search of better living conditions. At the center of the diverse profusion of Cubans, Mexicans and even Brazilians is Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a young dreamer whose main goal is to return to his native Dominican Republic and pursue his entrepreneurship – this time far away. constant prejudice that he suffers, even as he has to abandon his close friends and his cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), who has Usnavi as his father figure and idol. But that’s not the only plot that spans the long 143 minutes.
The main idea of both the play and the film is the desire of dozens of characters to accomplish what they have been denied, either by the veiled segregationism of a white and traditionalist society, or by the lack of material resources. to see an abstract idea. become reality. Infused with celebrations of the power of community and unity, we have, for example, Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, who works hard to raise funds and open her fashion studio; or Nina (Leslie Grace), who passed Stanford and was forced to drop out of prestigious college because of the racism she suffered among rich and mostly white students; and the astonishing trio formed by Daniela (Daphne Rubin-Vega), Carla (Stephanie Beatriz) and Cuca (Dascha Polanco), hairdressers who want to get out of the neighborhood and explore the world.
The opening scene, without a doubt, raises our expectations even more. Through the eponymous song, Chu teams up with incredible choreographer Christopher Scott to provide something that resonates familiar to those who have seen the original production, but creates a unique identity that expands unlike other musicals. , with many facets of the same atmosphere – agglutinating them in a sort of impeccable flash mob. The same can be said of the prodigious sequences which include “Carnaval Del Barrio” and “96,000”, which save elements of salsa, hip hop and cumbia to move away from what is expected of a Hollywood build – and, in this regard, to extol Latin American culture is a spectacular gesture and one which works in almost all its aspects.
The big mistakes, in fact, are concentrated in the script. Although Quiara Alegría Hudes returns to the designated role of the musical, there is a sharp change in the narrative direction that tries to provide the protagonists with the maximum amount of stage time, but fails to fulfill that mission. The foreshadowing that revolves around Nina, Benny (Corey Hawkins) and her dropping out of college culminates in a fragmented anticlimatic piece that is never saved in the film; the addition of Cuca as a new character adds no complexity to the once passionate relationship between Daniela and Carla; and finally, Sonny’s teenage crush on Nina is briefly mentioned in convulsive artistic expression with no apparent need.
If there is anyone who clings to what the succession of events means, it is Olga Merediz, who is also stepping out of the stage for the cinematic reinterpretation in the role of Abuela Claudia. The power of her presence is instantaneous – and her performance in “Paciencia y Fe” is loaded with metaphors and accomplished work that leaves her ready to go on one of the only interesting bends. And, at the end of the first half, the rhythmic structure decides to derail on a train track to a conclusion too fabulous to be taken seriously – involving a lost lottery ticket, a blackout and exhausting. “Round trip” between Usnavi and Vanessa. ending, as expected, with obvious formulas.
“In a New York Neighborhood” seems too enamored of itself to notice the flaws in which it is engulfed, despite the sense of well-being that reigns after the credit hike. However, it is remarkable that the book relies more than it should on technical aspects, perhaps to mask the fact that it does not say anything new.
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