A life-after-prison chronicle that might seem emotionally or even narratively absurd if it were a scripted drama, Ireland-based filmmaker Viko Nikci’s undeniably poignant doc surprisingly chooses to follow threads of hope and forgiveness over the angers of injustice.
One chaotic Bronx night in 1999, while trying to defend his brother from confused cops, a Puerto Rican–American man named Angel Cordero was wrongfully incarcerated for a stabbing he barely witnessed.
Thirteen years later, as Angel is paroled and begins his reacclimation process (learning how to text!), Nikci sensitively discovers a rough-around-the-edges yet well-intentioned father who hasn’t known his daughter since she was three. Raised by foster folks in Florida, the nearly seventeen-year-old Sarah now quietly seethes and wants nothing to do with the man she considers a deadbeat dad, provoking a heartbroken Angel to make a terrible, parole-violating decision.
It’s best to know nothing more about the story as Nikci eventually pulls back a curtain that casts sudden transformative light on Angel’s plight, something like a ray of sun destroying a vampire. The cinematography is far too slick, and Diddy’s title song is overplayed, but most of the revelations and one climactic confrontation cut to the bone.
Directed by Viko Nikci
Welcome Home Pictures
Opens October 30, Village East Cinema
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 27, 2015