- Director: Ryan Fleck
- Details: US/120mins (TBC)
- Release Date: 03/07/2009
Miguel "Sugar" Santos is a gifted pitcher, playing for an affiliate of the Kansas City Stars, in The Dominican Republic. He dreams of being called up to play in America, where he would then start at the bottom rung of the American Minor Leagues. Sugar can barely utter two lines of English, so when he is picked up by a team from the American Bible belt, a hurdle soon arises in the form of the language barrier - he can't communicate with anyone but his former teammates. We stay with Sugar through all the highs and lows, as an incredibly naturalistic performance by Soto is illuminated thanks to some subtle and utterly engrossing filmmaking. You don't just follow this man's story; you genuinely get to know him - a remarkable achievement for any film.
While not as overtly commercial or focused on the moment as Friday Night Lights, there are undoubted similarities between the two films. Both create real, three-dimensional characters and place the viewer smack bang in the middle of their world. But where 'Lights' has moments of visceral, bone-crunching tackling, coupled with the ponderous close-ups, Sugar simply hones on its main character, and stays there for the entire two hours.
Sugar cuts a lonely figure at points, and this is beautifully highlighted with a hugely impressive steadicam sequence about two thirds of the way through. We stay right with Sugar, who remains sharp in focus from behind, while everyone we glide past in a busy arcade is out of focus. Technically impressive and symbolic without being pretentious, it's a wonderful scene. Brilliantly made, beautifully acted and thoroughly engaging, this is a pleasure that is well worth seeking out amidst the current barrage of blockbusters currently hogging screens at your local cinema.
Review by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Friday 3rd July 2009 | Movie Review
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