Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yenny Paola Vega, Virgina Ariza, Johanna Andrea Mora,
Wilson Guerrero, John Álex Toro and Guilied Lopez
you come with me"
Her boyfriend has nothing going for him, she is just quit her job and she
is pregnant, for María Álvarez (Moreno) life just couldn't get any harder.
When she meets Franklin (Toro) he offers her a way to make a lot of money
but there is a big element of risk involved. The job is for her to become
a drug mule, swallowing pellets and flying to New York from her home in Columbia.
These pellets contain heroin, each weighs 10 grams, each is 4.2 cm long and
1.4 cm wide and the man Franklin has introduced her to wants her to swallow
more than sixty.
There have been many films about the trafficking of drugs from
Columbia to the US but you have always seen the stories through the eyes of
the drug barons or the police officers trying to catch them but this movie
is very different.
'Maria Full of Grace' tells the story of the young girls used
as mules to carry drugs into the US. Writer/director Joshua Marston skilfully
shows you the world of the average Colombian teenage girl who because of circumstance
and need, falls into the trap of using her body to transport drugs to New
York. What makes this film so different however is the fact that it isn't
at all preachy and never takes a moral or political high ground but just tells
the story from the point of view of Maria.
These girls are just as much victims as the people the dealers
are supplying the drugs to. With small monetary rewards for doing the jobs,
they risk everything. Not only is there is the threat of getting caught by
US customs but the biggest danger is to their own lives, as every pellet they
swallow carries the risk of bursting, killing them from a heroin overdose.
Director Marston shows you exactly what the girls go through and the dangers
of doing what they do.
In an absolutely stunning debut, Catalina Sandino Moreno is
quite simply amazing as María Álvarez. Once in a while a performance by a
first time actress comes along and makes you stand up and take notice of her,
this is one of those performances. She plays María so naturally, making the
character totally believable as we follow her story. Catalina Sandino Moreno
is definitely an actress to look out for and this is a performance that deserved
all of the plaudits, nominations and awards she received for it. The support
is also good but this movie is all about the performance of the lead character
and Catalina Sandino Moreno is definitely the star.
'Maria Full of Grace' is a fascinating insight into another
side of drug smuggling. Through the eyes of a drug mule, we see that it is
not just the junkie's who are the victims of the drug lords but also those
who are desperate for money and are will to risk their lives to earn it. With
nothing else in their village, this film explains why they do it and the repercussions
of taking on such a risk, making the movie a captivating watch.
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital
5.1 surround sound, the movie is presented well.
Writer/director Joshua Marston provides an informative and interesting track
for 'Maria Full of Grace'. Revealing the film's five-year journey to the screen,
Marston talks extensively about the influences and ideas behind the movie.
He also reveals the arduous casting process the production had to go through
to find Maria and the rest of the young Columbian characters. This is a good
commentary track that compliments the film extremely well.
Theatrical Trailer (2.11 mins)
Watch the original trailer used to promote the movie
Previews of 'On a clear day' and 'Rock School'
While this DVD release may not have the slue of extras that
accompany many movies, the commentary track alone is still a real bonus. Foreign
language movie tend not to have the most extras but the inclusion of the track
makes this a good release for fans of this superb movie.
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