Thursday, September 11, 2008

Voy a Explotar

Gerardo Naranjo | 2008 | 106 mins | Mexico

Román Valdez is the rebellious son of a corrupt politician in the Mexican city of Guanajuato. He's been expelled from so many private schools that his father is forced to place him at a less prestigious institution, where he meets Maru, a cool, weird middle class girl who lives with a single mom and sister.

The two decide to run away from home together, vowing never to part and giggling their way through the early part of the film, while they are tricking their families into believing they've left for Mexico City even though they are actually camping on Román's roof, sneaking into the house for food while the family is out.

Watching the two young actors (obviously played by real teens and not 20somethings masquerading as such) awkwardly stumble through a passionate friendship and into their first romantic and sexual experiences seems almost uncomfortably real.

Of course, 15 year olds never understand the repercussions of their actions and it soon becomes clear that their adventurous swindle won't end well, but by that point it's too late to turn back. Incidentally, the phrase "voy a explotar" means "I'm gonna explode", which perfectly describes the passionate, headstrong and often totally irrational, fiery energy with which the would-be revolutionaries soldier on, hoping that love will be their guiding light and save them in the end.

The performances here are probably better than the film itself, which relies on a few "runaway teen" clichés and a fair bit of melodrama in the third act. Worth seeing just for the breakout performance by youngster Maria DesChamps as Maru, who is absolutely pitch-perfect from start to finish.

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