Scarface put Miami on the cinematic map. Miami Vice kept it there. But those were the 80’s , and times have changed… Or have they? With films like Pain & Gain (okay fine – that actually takes place in the 80’s) and now Eenie Meenie Miney Moe, it’s clear this culture still has a presence. But the real question is if there’s as much substance as there is style.
EMMM is a telling of Raul (Andres Dominguez), who operates as a tow truck driver, boosting flashy rides for whatever treasures may hide inside. He takes his scores (usually drugs and guns) and pawns them off for his real pay day. Throw in a love story, some pedophilia and a cast of questionable characters, and you’re looking at the dramatic disfunction of this modern crime story. The film plays out as a tragedy, as these cautionary tales often do, climaxing with Raul’s final score going horribly wrong.
The strength of the film lies in the cinematography. The shots of Miami give it that luster you expect to see, as it radiates the way the city’s known to: bright lights, glitz, and glamour. The direction’s on point, and the acting is overall decent. Paired with some solid production value, EMMM is easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. The story’s a bit flat. There’s too many characters that detract from the plot. If half were cut, they wouldn’t be missed. Also, a crooked protagonist is an interesting choice, but he’s not relatable. He robs people because he wants the lifestyle, not because he’s broke or truly desperate. This makes it hard to get behind him, or to even care. Finally, the outcome isn’t satisfying. Tragedies are great, but the stakes were never raised high enough for Raul; his downfall was not due to any heavier risks than usual, so the consequences don’t carry the weight they should.
All in all, EMMM might attract those who dig on that Miami masturbatory drugged out fantasy, but for those who want a bit more depth, stick with De Palma’s classic.
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