An inmense step for Latin cinema
Roberto Campoverde | USA | 10/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film DOES NOT represent Ecuadorian culture to its best simply becasue this film is not about Ecuadorian culture. It is, with out a doubt, a crude and well done representation of violence and crime in a third world country - the story could very well take place in New York for all we know, and it will still keep its punchline. I liked the film and enjoyed it from the start to the right end. I inmensily enjoyed to see the way the characters were portrayed and the great use of the Ecuadorian slang - something that'll be hard to get from someone who is not from this country and the subtitles do not make any justice to the impacable work that was put to the screenplay either. A great film to see for those who like good independent movies."
A very engaging film!
Cristian Buitron | 04/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent movie-very skillfully filmed and with great acting! As an Ecuadorian-American, I was very favorably impressed by the overall quality of this film. Sebastian Cordero engages the viewer with a very accurate portrayal of the atmosphere of delinquency, poverty and hopelessness aggravated by the financial crisis which Ecuador has been experiencing. The film was interesting and captivating from start to finish. Naturally, if you speak Spanish as I do, or are familiar with Latin America, you will enjoy the film even more. However, I was grateful for the subtitles in this letterboxed edition, as the characters' speech is heavily spiced with "gangster slang" and local vernacular some of which I was not familiar with. I highly recommend this film."
Disturbing and Vivid View of Ecuador's Dark Side
James L Fortier | St. Charles, MO United States | 10/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since books were written and traveler's tales recorded, highland Ecuador has had the reputation of being the safe haven of the Andes, a gentle law abiding country that has always been bordered by the thug societies of Colombia to the north, and the oppressive military stronghold of Peru to the south. Times have changed. The roads that once barely made it from Guayaquil to Quito or from Tulcán ,on the Colombian border, to the heart of Quito are now highways that have brought world culture and chaos to this formerly placid country. My memories of innocence and lack of crime in the Quito of the early 70's became so tarnished and changed with my last few recent trips to the capital. This movie embellished my fears and distrust of the seething underbelly of the new Quito. In the movie, the scene that aroused so many memories was the glimpse of the Cumandá bus station, where one of the "rateros" slowly walks up to the sleeping gringo and steals, with a knife, his waist pack. I heard so many times on my last trip to Quito from everyone from taxi drivers to relatives of my fiancée, who was born and raised in Quito, "Times have changed..Be careful". The summer of 2001, we boarded a bus in Quito at the Cumandá Terminal and were met after a short time by a "gentleman" who explained to us on the bus that he had been recently released from prison for robbing a man. He then said that he needed money to stop stealing. His recitation included the remorse that he didn't want to go back to prison but didn't know what he could do to prevent it if no one gave him money. Frightened old ladies gave him coins immediately in the hopes that he would leave and go back to his family in Guayaquil. My fiancée immediately, said "look at him, the "desgraciado" is obviously from Guayaquil". Shortly thereafter we encountered a young "ratero" who entered the bus and pleaded for money because he "was dying". He pulled up his shirt and showed us all his wounds, protruding intestines, and smattering of blood. He apparently had been stabbed and was as pallid as a ghost. This movie, which has scenes more graphic, is true cinema verité and shows the sordid side of the big city that fortunately is uncommon in the smaller towns. There was not an instant of slow time or a moment of boredom in this simple but masterful production. The director said all that I've feared of the underside of Ecuador and did it with haunting but suble scenes. I highly recommend the movie for all that it evokes."
Difficult Slice of Ecuadorian Life
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 11/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A difficult film to watch, Rateros is a rewarding, harrowing, emotional roller coaster of a movie. Marcos Bustos is Salvador, a poor teenager in-and-out of minor trouble at military school, but overall likeable. Enter his inappropriately named cousin, Angel, a man who can fall in a bed of roses and come out smelling like crap. Angel is a junky and immediately proceeds to ruin the lives of Salvador and anyone else he comes into contact with.
As Angel Carlos Valencia gives a once-in-a-lifetime performance that is so believable and anger-inducing I nearly wanted to reach into my television and strangle him myself. This is a slice of life from an impoverished and almost hopeless world. Though extremely poor, Salvador is straddling a place between two worlds as he teeters dangerously towards the wrong one. Although it's evident early on he would like to rid himself, tough guy Angel's cries to Salvador for help work in a revolting passive aggressive way that threatens violence at all times.
Inspiration and hope come from Salvador's understanding girlfriend, Mayra and another cousin the wealthy, sympathetic and beautifully bored, Carolina.
Silent witness to all and symbol of the film's grim realities sits the boy's shared grandma, wheelchair bound and comatose, more dead than alive and helpless to do more than just sit there.
A powerful, sad and thought provoking tale.