BENEATH THE ROCK is a cut above.

Reviewed by Stephanie Schwartz

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Eliana Ujueta is a filmmaker worth watching! Her film, “Beneath the Rock” is well made. It is realistic, naturalistic, and has good pacing. It held my attention and curiosity for the approximately 72 minutes running time.

It is about the corrupt cops and young hoods on a block in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The people in the neighborhood know the cops are the bosses and the young men in their 20’s work for them, running an underground casino and keeping other gangs out of the neighborhood. They have an intricate surveillance system of video cameras and rooftop look-outs.

The film begins with a voice-over narration by the lead character, Johnny Calas, played sympathetically by Jason Cruz stating the location, setting and ambience of the story. The action begins when his 12 year old sister Cherry, played nicely by Marisa Finazzo is kidnapped. This sets in motion a series of beatings and killings among the gang members. There is no honor among these thieves.

This film is good cinema verite. The shoot was done realistically on location in and around Brooklyn; the characters, dialogue and action were simply and directly presented. The production values were very good. The acting was very natural and the actors made these evil characters sympathetic and appealing at times. Eliana Ujueta wrote and directed with a clear, firm and consistent vision. All of the featured and supporting cast members were effective in their roles. The closing credits and music were appropriate. Everyone was given nice, individual credits. I wish these were accompanied by small photos.

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