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On the Downlow
On the Downlow
Actors: Tony Sancho, Michael Cortez, Donato Cruz, Jimmy Borras
Director: Tadeo Garcia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
UR     2007     1hr 24min

Loyalty and allegiance clash with desire in this gritty, real and provocative film, set in the violent world of warring Latino gangs on Chicago's Southside. When Angel defects from his gang to join his secret lover, Isaac,...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tony Sancho, Michael Cortez, Donato Cruz, Jimmy Borras
Director: Tadeo Garcia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 01/09/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Bonnie C. from KATY, TX
Reviewed on 12/7/2009...
This is a (very) low budget movie but it is actually pretty good. It deals with a subject that is isn't often talked about and handles it pretty well. The script does get a bit heavy-handed at times (especially the end) but the main actors are very well cast and they keep you interested. This is the first movie from the writer/director and I think it's a pretty good showing for a first timer.

Movie Reviews

Romeo and Romeo in the Hood
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)


Romeo and Romeo in the Hood

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

"On the Downlow" (Image) is not your usual gay movie by any means. We do not think of thugs as being gay, especially not members of radical gangs. Here is a romantic and tragic film of love between two rival gang members of Southside Chicago. Perhaps the title s an unfamiliar term to you but "on the downlow" is a reference to street guys who are "straight" but have sex with men in secret.
Angel is a member of the Latin Kings but he has a secret lover named Isaac who belongs to a different gang. They meet in secret and no one knows of their relationship. Angel double crosses his own gang and Isaac, at that time, tries to get him to come into his own gang.
Tadeo Garcia has entered territory not yet explored with his direction of this film. He manages to show us first hand the life on the streets of gang heavy Chicago and his actors who are all first timers give excellent performers. He film, itself, is suspenseful and laden with twists and turns as well as gang brutality. This is not any easy film to watch but it is enlightening and has the heart and soul not found often in films of this sort. I did expect a great deal more violence at the end and if there is a fault to "On the Dowlow", it is that the ending could have been stronger. I expected to see more deaths at the conclusion.
Similar to the classic Shakespearean "Romeo and Juliet", it is the tale of two families (gangs) where a member of one family is in love with a member of the other family. The rest I will leave to you to discover. What is the most amazing thing about the film is that it was made as a student project and as such it is a bit uneven. I predict that the director will have a huge career if this film is any sign of things to come. This explosive story opens our eyes to things we knew nothing about and does so with power. Our two main characters live in a society where the decisions that they make and the paths they choose to take create a trap and a brutal end for them. Their community will not take to secrets and rules cannot be broken.
As a film that is ahead of its time and breaks down stereotypes this is a movie not to be missed. There is no love scene in the film just a kiss that says it all. Hat kiss which takes place in the raw of a neighborhood alley speaks legions of words and carries and conveys the emotions of the two young men. The fact that these two guys love "on the downlow" sets us up for the tragedy which follows them. When things go back, they go bad very quickly. I think what the film is really about is the danger inherent in keeping secrets and what can happen in a world which is dominated by gangs. The beauty of the film is the way it sends its thesis to the audience--quietly and beautifully. What a great way for Garcia to begin his movie career.
The Little Film That Could, and Did.
Doctor Richard | Newton,, MA, United States | 01/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It is cruel to give this film just three stars, because its heart, soul, and spirit are five stars. It is a must-see for any one who is looking for signs of intelligent life on the planet.
The credits tout its success in many film festivals. Only uneven pacing and an ending insufficiently violent to be satisfying mark this as an early work in someone's arc. This is Shakespearean tragedy, after all. The stage should be littered with corpses.
Some may want to stop reading here. Anyone who recognizes to which tragedy I refer, or who has seen West Side Story, may guess some of the ending.
The story is about two families, here as two Chicago gangs that are its members' families. A member of one gang has a member of the other as a lover, secretly. The second man wants to leave his gang, and join the other. If the gang he wants to join discovers him as a member of the other, he will be killed.
There are many other elements from Shakespeare's version included in this film, such as a reference to the famous masquerade ball from Shakespeare, as well as to the dance at the gym in West Side Story. I'll leave it to others to identify more, or to disagree with me.
I hope that the makers of the film have not read the play to which I refer; that would make the parallels downright spooky and even archetypal."
Tadeo Garcia: A Voice to Hear, A Talent to Applaud
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Gradually movie audiences are turning more serious attention to the little Independent films for quality and meaning in story and in style and in brave confrontation with issues outside the perimeter of the Hollywood style films. A fine example is this remarkable film by student Tadeo Garcia whose first year in film school produced the outline of this little gem of a movie and whose courageous 'first film' gained the respect of screenwriter Roger B. Domain who helped him transfer the skeletal story into a full length film ON THE DOWNLOW, all on a budget of $8,000.!

From the opening scenes we can sense that we are watching a love story, but it is a story of forbidden love: Angel (Michael Cortez) is escaping his Chicago street gang with the help of Isaac (Tony Sancho) and the two warmly human, supportive, sensitive young youths flee to the territory of Isaac's low neighborhood where Isaac convinces Angel to give up his allegiance to his former gang and pledge to Isaac's gang, a rasty group led by Reaper (Donato Cruz). Very gradually and with incredible decorum Garcia reveals to us that Angel and Isaac are lovers, the only time the union is shown physically is a prolonged kiss in an open night alley, an event which will trigger the force of destiny: it is enough as the scene is passionate yet gracefully not graphic.

The boys' mothers plead with them to not carry guns and to avoid gang alliance, but at the same time they lovingly accept their sons' sexuality. But life is as it is on the streets of south side Chicago and Angel is accepted into Isaac's gang, having to undergo the cruel initiation beating that accompanies his joining. Reaper is later informed that Angel is an ex-gang member of the rival gang and Isaac is the one Reaper determines should kill the offending Angel. The two lovers try to escape Chicago but the inevitable happens and the ending is tragic but with undertones that are subtly captured by Garcia's eye, mind, camera, and heart: the final confrontation scene ends with our enabled view of evidence that other members of the gang share the same 'on the downlow' as Angel and Isaac.

Not only are Tony Sancho and Michael Cortez wholly believable in their dichotomous roles, but the entire cast is filled with raw yet gifted talent: Felipe Camacho as the Priest, Beatriz Jamaica as Angel's mother and Carmen Cenko as Isaac's mother, Donato Cruz as Reaper, Adelina Quinones (a terrific screen presence) as Laura, and all the youngsters who convincingly bring the gang members to life. Yes, there are evidences of low budget constraints, but the overwhelming success of the story of two young men in love against the backdrop of hopelessness of crime is brilliant evidence that Tadeo Garcia is a gifted talent to watch. Recommended for all audiences. Grady Harp, February 07