Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Directed by: Rafael Flores
Written by: Rafael Flores
Starring: Netta Brooks, Trestin George, Evan Joelle, Angel Manzo, Deborah Pan
E.14 Movie Review
E.14 is an indie film written and directed by Rafael Flores and starring Netta Brooks, Trestin George, Evan Joelle, Allison Ewing, Deborah Pan, Angel Manzo and John Tam. The plot focuses on a number of non-Caucasian individuals who are struggling to move on with their lives in the tough streets of Oakland.
The script consists of several interrelated stories involving a variety of people. Liberty (Brooks) is a young African American prostitute who has just discovered that she is pregnant and is making efforts to find new accommodation as she is being evicted and is also being threatened by her pimp King (George) for money. Augustin (Manzo) is a young Mexican immigrant who is homeless and attending lessons. Terrell (Joelle) is a young African American man who is also homeless and a troublemaker. Wei-Ling (Pan) is an elderly Eastern Asian woman who is trying to raise money in order to get health treatment for her husband. The well-structured screenplay effectively explores the characters' lives and situations and does a good job moving the narrative forward with each scene. And the scenes are supported by the very convincing performances of the cast, who successfully bring the emotions that the characters are feeling to life.
The filmmakers utilise interesting techniques throughout the film. There are sequences where a character looks into the camera, addressing the audience, and tells stories of struggle and pain. Other sequences include the use of voice-over, where an unseen narrator, sometimes male, sometimes female, recites lyrics from poems. These techniques add depth to the story, helping the viewer understand the characters. Credit also goes to the use of montage during the opening credits and in the scene where multiple cars are performing stunts. The editing is truly effective in both sequences. And with the opening credits montage, the film contains shots of African American people and the camera pans through run-down neighbourhoods filled with graffiti, while a rap song is heard throughout. With these contents the viewer becomes aware that they are about to enter an African American low life world.
The film appears to address many issues. Throughout the narrative, the audience becomes aware of the situations and challenges that the protagonists face. There is racism, which is suffered by Augustin when he is being picked on during lessons. Homelessness, as Augustin and Terrell are homeless. Prostitution, as Liberty is a prostitute. Police corruption is indicated when a policeman attempts to get Liberty to do favours for him, explaining that in exchange he will not arrest her. Poverty is also a subject and the issue of gun violence is pointed out towards the end Terrell fires a gun at King and his friend. E.14 is a hard-hitting look in today's society in the United States. It depicts a society where non-Caucasian individuals are unprivileged and live rough lives.
Generally the film is well worthy of recognition. It is a piece of work that has a great deal to say. Well directed, well acted and well written, it provides the viewer with a thoughtful and interesting experience.