A Gangster’s Word (2013) – Review

1/2 Star

A Gangster’s Word is a disjointed mess of a movie with unruly story threads and developments that go nowhere. This meshing of all the worst elements from Dangerous Minds, 187, and a lifetime feature results in a suffering affair for anyone with 80 minutes to donate.

Father Race (Mauricio Mendoza) is a no-nonsense type of padre, himself a former gang banger turned Holy Man, who has dedicated his adulthood to preaching to those still stuck in the gangster lifestyle. Katherine Wyse (Jolane Lentz) is a teacher to inner-city youths, her insistence on class re-enactments of Shakespeare lands one of her students in trouble with his homie. Junior (Nick Rey Angelus) is good student but unable to break free from the grip of his criminal minded brother Pablo (Goya Robles), an attempted robbery goes south and results in the death of two men. On the hook for the casualties, Junior and Pablo have a week to come up with 20k in repentance money. But all of those troubles are quickly forgotten as the brothers still attend class, where Pablo has a disturbing crush on his teacher. Meanwhile Junior has starred attending Father Race’s bible study group and fallen for the girlfriend of a rival.

A Gangster’s Word has two scenes that work but the film is not much above the level of a second year film student project. Transitions between scenes are absent, instead we are left with jarring cuts, and the robbery that sets up the first act is referred to but never visualized. Inconsistent lighting levels give the movie a murky quality at times and the ultra-low budget is evident everywhere you look. The saving grace is solid acting from Jolane Lentz. Otherwise take my word and pass on this frustratingly amateurish project.

Director: Kate Whitney
Stars: Goya Robles, Jolane Lentz, Nick Rey Angelus

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