La mission (2009)

La mission, a neighbourhood in San Francisco, is the place that Che Rivera calls home. After doing his time in jail he has managed to start over and found a job as a bus driver.
His fight with alcohol addiction has been succesful, enabling him to enjoy life together with his son Jes, who he has been raising since his wife passed away.
Every week he meets up with his friends to cruise in their lowriders. “Low and slow” is the way to drive and it’s not about the destination, but the way you get there.
When Che finds out that his son is hiding a big secret from him it changes their lives and their relationship.

La mission paints a picture of a very complex man with Che. He wants to leave his violent lifestyle and alcoholism behind him, but the situation he’s in makes this very hard. His friends and neighbour don’t agree with his choices, which only complicates things.
Benjamin Bratt really manages to impress as he convincingly shows a sympathetic father, but at the same time a violent man torn apart by pain.
I thought the Jes and Lena were also characters that were really well written. The actors manage to show their inner emotions. The result is a great movie about relationships, the willingness to look at your own demons and the lowrider subculture.

The movie uses San Francisco as its background, but does so in a very subtle way. There were moments that I thought it was set in L.A. If you want to know more about lowrider culture, pick up a copy of Sunday Driver, a documentary made by Rockstar games, which has a lot of interview and backgrounds of the scene in Los Angeles.

Score: 7

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