Edward James Olmos may be known for his characteristic, pock-marked face and the warm, paternal gaze that has made him a go-to character actor for roles ranging from inspirational teacher (Stand and Deliver) to scowling pachuco (Zoot Suit), but few may realize that he is also an active supporter of Latino representation through his multi-tentacled media company Olmos Productions. Now, after bringing U.S. independent cinema films of the calibre of Filly Brown, Olmos Productions has tried its hand at Chicano political thriller with its latest feature, Water & Power.
Following one night in the lives of two East L.A. brothers who have risen through the ranks of local power, director Richard Montoya’s feature-debut delves into the world of power and corruption in the City of Angels like a low-riding version of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. While the film’s promotional campaign has chosen to keep things on the ambiguous side (the official synopsis only tells us that “something has gone very wrong”), we do know that Power and Water are two carnales with symbolic nicknames who have left behind their hardscrabble background to become a respected senator and cop, respectively.
The trailer does a good job of sewing intrigue, and yes, it is clear that something has gone very wrong and people are looking for answers, but what most stands out is the film’s impressive production value. The desaturated flashback scenes may be a bit cliché, but by all accounts the cinematography and acting seem to be worthy of a trip to your local cinema.
Tucson residents can do just that today, Thursday, December 18 at the Loft Cinema on East Speedway Boulevard.