Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
There is a scene in Sugar when Miguel "Azucar" Santos hangs up a wall calendar of New York City, and the camera cuts back to show Sugar sitting at his desk with the calendar next to a window, with wide open Iowan farmland beyond. The juxtaposition of these two contrasting images is part of what the film does best, which is evoking dour moods and contrasting feelings. At its heart, Sugar is two ideas, a fish out of water and a journey of discovery, but without the sap usually associated with those types of movies. Sugar is not dark, but it is also not a happy film. In one regard, it almost has a documentary feel to it, as we follow the main protagonist from the poverty of the Dominican Republic to the isolation of the rural United States (and without giving too much away, beyond). The movie is captivating, but just like Sugar, I never felt comfortable in the world of the film, which is what I suspect the filmmakers intended. Sugar should be striving to reach his goals and become a star baseball player, but he can never find his feet in this foreign land. Every turn leads to more alienation. He's a stranger in a strange land, a young kid without a home. This is a very fascinating baseball film and character piece, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy either of those two.
Sugah, why you so sweet?
Chris is a big baseball fan, but don't think you need to be to get something out of this movie. The story contained will be interesting to anyone interested in story, and it's one that doesn't normally get told. Sugar is also an intriguing look into a part of the world we rarely glimpse cinematically, a land where the line between exploitation and opportunity is blurred. There's a lot to chew on here. Watch it!
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