Friday 05 June 2009
Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's first film, Half Nelson, explored the life of a high-school teacher addicted to crack.
Their second puts a heavy spin on the American baseball movie, taking as its subject young hopeful Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), whose "million dollar" pitching arm takes him from his impoverished home in the Dominican Republic to top flight baseball in prosperous bible-belt Iowa. The film is compassionately aware of the abyss over which Sugar's career unfolds – his loneliness in the US, his awareness of his family's financial dependence back home, the constant threat of injury or loss of form – yet the story's slow-burn never quite flares into dramatic wildfire. Soto, with his disarming smile and liquid eyes, has real presence, and makes us feel the dreadful pressure of carrying so many expectations. Yet one always senses the film as an illustration, a Third World case study, rather than individualised as a boy's own life.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts