Rodrigo D: No Future (1990)

Rodrigo_D-_no_futuroAt some point, I got the impression that what Gypsy 83 was for the goth scene, Rodrigo D seems to be for the punk and metal scene. In retrospect, however, the two are not alike. As frenetic as it tends to be, I do laud its intention. Namely, I felt the film was an earnest drama of a youth growing up in the bottom rung of society, and doing what he can to follow a dream, though I think the producers squandered the chance to make a truly compelling film.

From what I can tell, the film’s story revolves around the eponymous Rodrigo, a poor and troubled teenager living in Medellín, Colombia who wants to be a drummer in a punk band. Even though his musical ability is not the best, he can identify with the punks. Alienated, angry and destructive, he sees the music as the only way he can drive the despair out of his mind.

That’s basically the gist of what the film is about, and keep in mind, the film had no subtitles, not even if you find it on YouTube. Unfortunately this makes it one of those films where the language barrier makes it difficult to get into the film. That said, this past summer I’ve seen a number of films that were seemingly handicapped by a language barrier, but they were all just fine for the most part. With this film, I think the frenetic pace was more of a problem, and the fact that it was generally noisy and dim. On the whole, the story plays out like a coming of age film with street kids wandering and rampaging in an empty place. Interesting maybe, but it was somewhat aimless in its approach.

As for the characters, I think there was sincerity in the characters, especially in the main character, even though I can’t exactly understand any of them. To be honest, I wasn’t overly interested in them, and couldn’t see myself emotionally invested in them, but the performances weren’t bad. With the characters, I think the biggest strength is that the film presented them as if they were real people, fitting the film’s pseudo-documentary approach. In a sense, the characterisation is pretty chaotic, and I guess that fits the film.

I don’t know if this is true of the original film, but when I watched it, it seemed to look as if it was a low-quality VHS. Some of the scenes were so dark that it was quite hard to make out what was actually going on in those scenes. I do admire the realistic nature of the setting, as it conveyed the desperation of the kind of world the street punks inhabited, accurately presenting a poor neighbourhood in a third-world country. The choice of music wasn’t exactly my taste, but I do feel that it works well enough for the film.

Though I found the film wanting, due to its incoherent direction and messy production, I found it to be decently interesting film. It has its flaws, but at least it was sincere in its approach.

  • Score: 60%
  • Grade: C
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