PARK CITY -- "Quattro Noza" is a jacked-up, present-time dragster drama set in the teenland of East L.A., via such geographical signposts as "American Graffiti," "Rebel Without a Cause," and numerous other cars/cigarettes/chicks movies of the '50s.
Despite its contemporary sheen, it's very old-fashioned in its storytelling and structure. Unfortunately, it's more muscle than high-formula, and it clanks, sputters and spins out in its pedal-to-the-story medal style. Playing to decidedly mixed applause here at Sundance, this Competition Entrant boasts some slick visuals, but under the story hood -- it's a pretty gummed-up vehicle.
In this current spin, the turf is the Santa Monica Freeway, the 10 east of downtown where macho teens from the urban parts of L.A. drag their souped up symbols of manhood up and down the side roads and freeways. There is, decidedly, a need for speed because these guys have got nothing much going on otherwise. Down to the pinions: it's a duel between two guys over a doe-eyed Hispanic teen Noza (Brihanna Hernandez). The two car dudes are Chato, a macho Filipino, and Quattro, the only white kid who ventures into the barrio to race. They cross paths mainly only on the roads, until they are pitted against each other by the impressionable Noza.
Admittedly, filmmaker Joey Curtis lays down some sociological smarts in his storytelling and torques it with some video-game style visuals. Unfortunately, the overall story line is gunked with melodramatic sludge and too many narrative pit stops. At 116 minutes, "Quattro Noza" is way too bulky, but could be readily compacted to a sleeker form, say at a cool 88 rpm. Elimination of the numerous cutaways to the moon would not only eliminate excess melodramatic sludge but also provide ample shots for numerous vampire movies.
The title, "Quattro Noza" refers to the two romantic leads. As "Quattro," Robert Beaumont is an engaging daredevil as the Caucasian kid who ventures onto these mean streets of East L.A. As Noza, Brihanna Hernandez' innocent sensuality personifies the low self-image of many teenage girls in that east of downtown world, girls who are soon to be mothers and whose identity is realized through their boyfriends. As the boneheaded Chato, Victor Larios is aptly menacing as the toughest guy in a speed-and-crash world.
Fountainhead Film presents a Fredric King production of a JOC714 film
Producer: Fredric King
Screenwriter/director: Joey Curtis
Story: Joey Curtis, Albert Hernandez
Executive producers: Fredric King, Kevin Segalla
Co-producers: Joey Curtis, David Murillo, Sau-Yin Wong, Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier
Director of photography: Derek Cianfrance
Editors/sound designers: Joey Curtis, Jim Helton
Line producers: Robert Blatchford, Abby Casper
Music: DJ Spooky
Theme song: Rebekah Del Rio
Production designer: Nathan Webb
Costume designer: Sharon Maginnis
Race car creator: Alan Knutson
Noza Flores: Brihanna Hernandez
Joaquin Hernandez, aka Chato: Victor Larios
Derek Alan Smith, aka Quattro: Robert Beaumont
Leone: Greg Leone
Fabiola: Fabiola Barrios
Kid Albert: Albert Hernandez
Bob Smith: Gary Brockette
Black Gerald: Gerald Russell
Running time -- 116 minutes
No MPAA rating