Thoughts on Mala Noche

Sunday, June 19, 2011 9:19 AM By Simon

-A store clerk falls in love with a teenaged Mexican boy. Unbalanced relationships of age, language, sexuality, etc, ensue.

-This is an eighties movie. You can tell by the denim jackets and the skinny jeans the 'totally redical, bro' accent on lead Tim Streeter (think Adam Baldwin in Full Metal Jacket, or preferably, the bully from Karate Kid, but less made-up lingo).

-This is also Gus Van Sant's first movie. It's shot in 16mm black-and-white, making everything soft and and gooey and breakable, claustrophobically close-up, like Eraserhead or Repulsion. Of course you get my meaning. Why wouldn't you?

-The characters behave to baffle, only explained by Streeter's voiceover, which I am grateful for, as he says that he's perfectly aware of how creepy his behavior is, and acknowledges the stereotype of American white guys ('gringos', evidentally) thinking their entitled to have illegal immigrants because they're poor and hungry.

-Stil, there's not much nuance here, or ambitious filmmaking. A surprisingly straightforward adaption of a semiautobiographical book by Walt Curtis, with a tendency to dreamily caress Johnny (Doug Cooeyate).

-I'd say there was a love triangle, but it wasn't, really, because only one of the three seemed interested.

-Um. So there's that.