By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
The opening sequence of director Harold Trompetero’s searing and gritty, new prison drama “Dark Blood”
is so gut-wrenching you may be inclined to turn away from it, but don’t. If you do, you’ll miss one of the most riveting and amazing performances from the incredibly talented John Leguizamo (“Critical Thinking” and TV’s “When They See Us”).
In “Dark Blood” Leguizamo plays Misael, a man whose seen his quiet and married life turned upside down when he’s sent to a Colombian prison for a revenge crime against a man who killed one of his sons.
Prior to his confinement, Misael never had any run ins with the law. The pain and anguish that he and his wife Clara (Maria Nela Sinisterra) endure has scarred their youngest son for life. The poor kid won’t talk to anyone, and he doesn’t even want to visit his father.
While Misael awaits his sentencing, his defense attorney Gloria Vera (Adriana Barraza, “Thor” and “Rambo: Last Blood”) is trying to do everything she can to get him out of this hell hole.
It’s a whole new world for Misael. He learns the hard way that no one in this place can be trusted and that the prison guards are despicable and abusive. He’s constantly beaten, humiliated, and even sexually harassed by one of the guards named Caceres played by the terrific Alvaro Rodriguez, (Screenwriter, “The Last Rampage” and “Machete”).
The days get longer and harder for Misael to bear. The people he thought were close in his life soon abandon him as well.
Misael’s options are limited. Just to survive he must make decisions that compromise his very soul. He now has no one to turn to, but oddly, does find comfort and kindness from the prison guards dog Mange. As “Dark Blood” rolls along we find out more about Misael’s true character and soon sympathize with his plight.
Dark Blood” takes daring steps and avoids becoming a formulaic prison tale. It goes places you don’t expect. I mean really don’t expect. It also allows Leguizamo to shine and dive deep into this tortured character and he delivers a stunning performance.
“Dark Blood” isn’t a feel-good movie by any means. It’s cold, dark, violent, bloody, and quite jarring. It’s also one of the best, indie films I’ve seen so far this year.
You can check out “Dark Blood”
(Spanish with English Subtitles) on Video On Demand Sept. 10.
Watch This Trailer For "DARK BLOOD"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.