Directors: Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori
Writers: Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tito Chamorro
Stars: Celso Franco, Lali Gonzalez, and Nico Garcia
Victor (Celso Franco) is a seventeen year old wheelbarrow delivery boy working at a large market in Asunción, Paraguay who dreams of being on television. One day he is called to a butcher shop to pick-up and deliver seven boxes. He is not told what is in them, and is paid with a half an US $100 bill. After the police arrive he is rushed away while the head butcher stalls the cops. Luis (Nico Garcia) is another wheelbarrow delivery man. He needs money for medication for his son. After arriving at the butcher shop late he learns that Victor was given his task.
Now Victor not only has to watch out for the police, he has to watch out for Luis and the cronies he enlists to take the boxes away from Victor. While Victor constantly navigates the paths of the market, he is interrupted by Liz (Lali Gonzalez)–an orphan girl with a crush on Victor. As day goes into night Victor realizes he may have bitten-off more than he can chew with the mystery cargo of seven boxes.
7 Cajas is a film with a Tarantino Script and a Michael Mann vibe. The dialogue and characters are witty, gritty, and funny. The heavy and depressing story is interjected with naturally comedic moments and dialogue that adds a necessary levity. This is a world with people the average American audience member has no natural connection with. The value of human life is lost on most of the characters, and what they call their average day is alien to us. And yet because of the intelligent script we are able to overcome this chasm between our world and theirs and connect with these people.
The look of the film also adds to the story and action. The over saturated light and heat felt at the beginning of the film gives way to the fluorescent harsh light at night. The cinematography is on par with the Michael Mann of Miami Vice and Collateral.
The acting is equal to the cast of Reservoir Dogs minus Quentin Tarantino. These characters are morally bankrupt, but because Franco, Gonzalez, Garcia, et all are at the top of their game we are able to connect and empathize with them.
By the end, the story and the actors have taken you to an unexpected and ultimately satisfying place.
Grade = A