A Better Life [Blu-Ray] Chris Weitz

A Better Life [Blu-Ray] Chris Weitz
Because broad social issues tend to be a bit convoluted – hence being unresolved social issues – it's much easier to get someone on board with your ideology if you remove the many factors that contradict your perspective. It's the rule of thumb for Hollywood, which is known for solipsized politicking and soapbox preaching, sans critical thinking, often basing their narcissistic Award ceremonies on it, excluding anything challenging while rewarding films and actors that adhere and assimilate with the most vigour and gusto. This is why Chris Weitz's schmaltzy illegal immigration drama, A Better Life, works so well from within its vacuum, placating the dominant liberal arts perspective with the humble, low-key tale of an inhumanly sweet and sincere gardener named Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir), a single father that works his ass off to support his son, Luis (José Julián). Since Carlos is so gosh darn compassionate and ethical, like all Mexican illegal immigrants, it's easy to feel pangs of empathy when his plan to start his gardening business implodes after the theft of his truck. See, he can't go to the police, being an illegal and all, so he's left to his own devices, touring around East L.A. with his son, who, incidentally, is struggling with the lure of the gangsta lifestyle, seeing just how bad people have it. They even walk by a sign that reads, "Too Many Mexicans. Not Enough Bullets" at one point. How terrible is that? And while this well-acted, albeit clumsy, drama of forced nobility isn't quite as sanctimonious as crap like Crash or Crossing Over, it still has that smug air of self-satisfaction amidst the desperate pleas for emotional investment. Perhaps if Carlos were written as an actual human being, or a little bit of effort was made to contextualize why there are limitations on legal immigration, this could have been something more. But as it stands, A Better Life is too narrow minded and silly to be anything more than comfort food for the aggressively liberal urbanite. Included with the Blu-Ray is a commentary track about shooting on location and Bichir's kick-ass dedication, along with some deleted scenes and an unintentionally hilarious music video from Ozomati. (eOne)