By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
On the second night of Cine Las Americas, Edward James Olmos and his son, director Michael D. Olmos presented this film which offers a fictional, but honest portrait of immigrant life in the United States amidst the backdrop of the 9-11 atracks in 2001. The movie gives its audience an intimate and emotional glimpse into the lives of immigrants who are willing to endure harsh conditions to come to this country and must often face an unfriendly reception during their stay here. Written by Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson, Windows On The World is a genuine eye-opener and powerful tale that resonates even more today.
Ryan Guzman stars Fernando, a young Mexican citizen who spends his late nights working for a lavish hotel in Mexico to help support his family. Several years earlier, Fernando’s father Balthazar left the family to illegally emigrate to the U.S. to find work, so that he can help support tge struggling family. He would ultimately maje his way to New York City where he would find work as a kitchen staff member for the Windows On The World restaurant atop one of the World Trade Center towers. When the attacks on the towers take place, Fernando takes it upon himself to travel to NYC to find out whether or not Balthazar survived. The arduous journey there and his experiences as an illegasl immigrant in New York prove to be an experience he will never forget.
With solid writing, assured direction and great performances by the cast, Windows On The World is a film that could get easily ignored by the masses, but deserves to be watched by many. Not only does the movie deserve much attention, I find it most imperative that all citizens of the U.S. should experience this emotional and moving story. The movie gives an accurate and mostly realistic depiction of the immigrant experience here– not just the hardships, but also the anger and hatred experienced by immigrants simply looking for the work and support they need to survive and provide for their families. 9-11 definitely had a massive impact on the people of our nation, but it also affected the lives of immigrants who don’t deserve the anger and hatred fueled by this tragedy.
In addition to Ryan Guzman who gives a great performance as Fernando, the movie can boast admirable turns by Julie Carmen, Richard Cabral, and Glynn Turman. As Balthazar, Edward James Olmos gives an awards-worthy performance as a father who comes to the U.S. for an opportunity at a better life for his family back home. Olmos has some highly emotional and heartbreaking scenes that are sure to move even the more stoic members of the audience.
Going into this movie, I, of course, was aware if how talented Edward James Olmos is, but had no idea that his son Michael had such great skills as a director. I must also once again give high praise to writers Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson for doing such a good job with the story and screenplay. Based on tge reactions of the audience members at tge screening, as well as my own feelings, I know that this movie is guaranteed to mive anyone who sees it.