McKay’s “Angel Rodriguez” was an interesting film to sit through, only because, set in the ghettos of the New York, the character of Angel Rodriguez is an all too familiar person with no future on a path to literally nowhere. He has nowhere to go but down, and he does so by choice, and charity.
Angel is a person who is a double faced character who relies on trust, confidence, and giving of others to get him somewhere that comforts him, no matter who he hurts. With his counselor Nicole, he’s mild-mannered, and humble, but on the outside, he’s someone that’s doomed to prison or the streets. He has a violent temper, he’s vicious, destructive, potentially homicidal, and is loathed by his father, while Nicole keeps optimism and blind naivety to endure one lost cause after another. Angel is a person she feels she can help, but for him it’s already too late.
Some audiences will be put off by McKay’s film because he doesn’t build his film so much around the conventional story structure. There are no conflicts or villains; it’s more the downward spiral of a young boy with nothing to contribute, and a woman whose entire life will be nothing but lost causes. “Angel Rodriguez” is not just the examination of a young boy doomed to failure, but a whole class of people filled with complacency, poverty, and sheer laziness who live in a isolated and grim landscape with no promise.
Rachel Griffiths gives a very good performance as the well meaning Nicole who discovers her counseling is nothing but an uphill battle, while Everett gives a great picture of a young boy who expects quick fixes, and easy answers. He has opportunities before him, and only wants the easy route that will keep him perpetually hopeless and bouncing from home to home.
Is Angel a self fulfilled prophecy, or a boy whose been let down by bad parenting and poor guidance? “Angel Rodriguez” will leave audiences talking long after the film has finished. McKay’s film leaves much to be desired with often meandering sub-plots that head nowhere, and an utterly abrupt climax that leaves us with dozens of unanswered questions, but it’s undercut with the realistic picture of living in the inner-city, where failure is imminent.