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Sunday, March 18, 2018

5TH STREET -- DVD Review by Porfle

It looks like it's going to be yet another variation on the classic revenge thriller, but 5TH STREET (Indican Pictures, 2013) veers its way through enough unexpected twists and turns to keep us both guessing and thinking.

Writer Eric Arthur Martinez stars as Joe Montoya, a chiropractor whose loving relationship with wife Sarah (Anne Leighton) is about to be blessed with child.  But while hunting for a new house, they enter a way-wrong neighborhood where Sarah is shot down in the middle of a sudden gang hit.

Before you can say "Death Wish" the newly-widowed Joe, now mad with grief, gets armed and forms a plan to find out who was responsible for the killing so that we can enjoy some good old-fashioned bloody payback.  He even enlists a couple of dads who've suffered similar unavenged losses as his crew.

The story chugs along as expected for awhile.  It's a slowburn that we know is building to something while keeping us pretty occupied even during a few slightly draggy spots.  Making it all the more watchable is the solid direction by Alex Meader, who delivers a quality indy film that looks good.

While Joe and his guys work their way up the criminal food chain, we see the big fish Beto (Christian Monzon), a cold-blooded narcissist who does business in sadistic fashion that even has his own men in fear of what he'll do next. 

But even Beto is a loving father, which is just one of the ways 5TH STREET screws around with our expectations.  Joe himself meets a vivacious young lady named Jessica (Annie Fetchu) who works with troubled kids, and from her he's reminded of how even the good ones can go bad due to unfortunate circumstances rather than some inherent evil. (A flashback to Joe's own childhood is harrowing enough.)

So at just about the point where the usual revenge flick would be shifting into top gear, violence-wise, this one eases back and offers some food for thought.  Mind you, there's still some satisfying (though mainly non-graphic) violence against the bad guys here and there, without which I'd have felt really cheated.  But the causes and consequences of it all are thoughtfully explored as well. 

Making things more interesting is the presence of a cop, Detective Gonzalez (Joe Voltierra), who suspects Joe of being behind some recent bad-guy deaths and starts shadowing him and his friends. 
This subplot conjures still more legal and moral ambiguity for both us and the characters to ponder.

Performances are fine and, for the most part, pleasingly realistic.  The film is above-average in all technical aspects including good production design and an effective musical score.

I'll admit, there will always be a place in my DVD player for a bit of the old mindless ultra-violence as far as revenge tales go.  But in the case of 5TH STREET, it's nice to see how such a loaded premise can develop in ways other than the usual lather-rinse-repeat fashion.

Tech Specs
Runtime: 93 minutes
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby SR
Genre: Action/Crime
Country: USA
Language: English


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