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.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 4 Black teen in critical condition after store employee 'shoots him for stealing 79-cent pack of cookies'
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
Amy Winehouse film director: 'I wanted to show the fun, bright-eyed girl we didn't know'
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Contemporary art is a fraud, says top dealer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture