When the star of a sensationalistic Miami news show travels to the Ecuadorian coastal village of Babahoyo to cover the story of a serial killer who hunts children, his personal ambition gets out of hand, and his pursuit of a moment of glory carries tragic consequences.

Also Known As: Cronici, Chronicles, Хроники, Crónicas, Cronicas, Investigations

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  • mohinii-chaabraa
    mohinii chaabraa

    I hate it when a film has a great idea, message and actors, and ends up pure CRAP!! This is that film. The message concerning the unjust media and the power of television was a good idea, but the screenplay and directing was so poor everyone in the screening at sundance was sleeping. The plot was incredibly predictable, which is not necessarily bad all the time, but this was bad because there was nothing too keep the film going. The audience all knew what was going on and the ending was pretty predictable from the first frame.It starts out intriguing and exciting with the lynching scene, but the rest of the film is slow slow slow. The film looks and feels so bleak and dead. It is also extremely stretched at it’s time length, it could work as a short, but feature length stretches it to the limit.I have seen over 20 films at Sundance so far, and this is my least favorite, please beware, this is a thriller-less thriller and an overwrought drama with too much pointless dialogue. The Sundance book says it it taut, and that is just WRONG. There are much better films about this concept, just pass on this bloated dead stinker

  • dr-toth-tibor
    dr toth tibor

    This is a really great movie, about how media can affect your point of view in a certain situation. In this case it’s about a guy, who is being held in prison on some vague accusations. But the movie is also about human beings and their flaws and faults. And although it’s the first movie for Leguizamo in Spanish (read the trivia section), he does a great job! The whole cast is great and this movie got praised (see awards section here at IMDb), to a point where the director is currently working on a Harrison Ford movie (due to release 2009, as is stated under his name/profile at IMDb).If you like drama shot in documentary style, as if this was really happening, than you should watch this movie. It’s not a blockbuster, but it might change your way of thinking on some things …

  • tola-teper
    tola teper

    I read some review on this movie.. talking about how unrealistic was the scene where the mob set someone on fire while the police watch. I am Ecuadorian and I would love to say the settings and events on this film are not real… but angry mobs (punishing a man that way), subhuman jail system, and the pedophile portrait on the movie are sadly the realities we live in Ecuador.When small communities condemn someone… public punishment happen, murder happen, violence happen often based on finger pointed accusations… and when this people get rescued by the police, they linger for years waiting for due process.That is why Sebastian Cordero’s film is important for Ecuador and Latin America, its raw!! it shows the reality of the lower classes of LA, police inefficiency, sensational media, and a rotting third world society

  • abdulsamed-cetin
    abdulsamed cetin

    The film is one of those rare successful examples of how to state volumes about issues by showing characters reacting to events occurring around them. The lack of a complete final statement on the possible innocence of those involved is what as a rich dynamic to the film and allows the story to live after the screen has faded to black. The movie could be put up as an example of how circumstantial evidence is built to show that someone is guilty merely by being present during a terrible act.Director Sebastian Cordero cleverly holds back information even up to the scene when Cepeda, fleeing the authorities, tells a young boy he is sorry for what he has to do. We wonder who the real guilty one is in the story. Certainly we hold Manolo accountable for much of the unrest that occurs in the film given his exposes on the unjust imprisonment of Cepeda, but if Cepeda is guilty of higher crimes, does that give those other characters in the film the right to mete out some vigilante justice?

  • hans-hinrich-patberg
    hans hinrich patberg

    For Ecuadorian people who loves the movies was a frustration to don’t have an iconic filmmaker. Now we are very happy because we have Sebastian Cordero. In his opera prime “Ratas, ratones y rateros” we saw a lot of elements of our country. It made me to considerate that movie like a fine domestic product but “Cronicas” is different. Cordero was faithful to his convictions and made a movie in his style, but “Cronicas” is a movie for everybody. There were some illumination problems and a few in-congruences in the script but there were insignificant when we appreciate this movie at all. The performance of the actors were magnificent. Leguizamo and the monster were excellent and Cordero was fundamental in this. I’m proud about Cordero. He will make big things with more money.

  • michelle-de-la-salmon
    michelle de la salmon

    The bottom line: very good movie, with great scenery shots of rural Ecuador, very good performances, especially on the part of John Leguizamo as a popular and ambitious reporter Manolo Bonilla doing a story about a notorious serial killer, and Damián Alcázar as Vinicio Cepeda, a man that by accident runs over and kills a local kid (whose brother was killed by the serial killer), and is saved by Manolo Bonilla from a lynching mob. Vinicio Cepeda wants the reporter to do a favorable story about him, and possibly, by doing so, help him get out of jail, where his life might be in danger. In exchange he offers him some information on “Monster of Babahoyo”, the pedophile serial killer.Damián Alcázar gives an incredible performance as a kind, humble, god-loving man with some uneasy, disturbing quality. The only real shortcoming of this movie, in my opinion, is that it is undeveloped. The movie could use another half a hour of plot towards the end. When the ending credits started rolling, I was a bit disappointed.All in all, warmly recommended.

  • victoria-webster
    victoria webster

    Unlike most of you I just seen it on DVD which gives us 2 shocking endings to choose from. I’ll stick to the one shown at the festival. This is a great movie with great acting from everyone, even the foreigners. Very intense & it took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. I couldn’t take my eyes off the movie anticipating the next scene. Leguizamo was great and has always been a great actor in drama roles. He was brilliant in this role as a reporter. The ending will leave most of us depressed imagining what child victims actually go thru when these monsters victimize them but the director chose to keep it real and we have to appreciate that. It will put something on your mind long after the movie ends but well worth watching. Very, very intense. Some parts will leave you feeling creeped out but it’s a thrilling ride!

  • finn-nilsson
    finn nilsson

    Crónicas is a terse, highly atmospheric movie that begins with a terrific idea but then doesn’t seem to now where to go with it. The director Sebastián Cordero himself admits that the ending was nebulous until one of the actors (Leonor Watling) suggested a way to make the film work. The notes for the alternative ending demonstrate how flimsy this screenplay was, even into the final edit. So it is a film that begins well then loses its way in the mud of Ecuador.Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo), a upwardly mobile TV journalist seeking stardom, has traveled to Ecuador with his assistant Marisa Iturralde (Leonor Watling) and cameraman Ivan Suarez (José María Yazpik) to cover the story of the ‘Monster of Babahoyo’, a serial rapist and murderer of small children. As they are filming a strange man Vinicio Cepeda (Damián Alcázar) has wandered into town and during the paparazzi effect of Bonilla’s crew filming the mass funeral of the latest victims of the ‘Monster’. Vinicio inadvertently runs over the twin of one of the victims resulting in an outrage by the father of the twins and a beating of Vinicio. Both are jailed and Manolo learns from the incarcerated Vinicio that he has secrets about the Monster. Seeing the chance for a ‘Big Story’ that will assure his stardom Manolo pursues the fragments of evidence about the Monster until little by little he ‘uncovers’ the truth. And the truth is terrifying.Along the bumpy script road there is a love affair between Marisa (Ivan’s girl!) and Manolo, communications with the Miami TV show Victor Hugo Puente (Albert Molina, whom we only see on a TV screen), and distractions from the townspeople and police. At times the storyline feels so jumbled that it is difficult to keep characters and motivations straight. But in the end this is a rather powerful indictment about the TV/media aggressive insertion into global reporting and the questionable ethics involved. The cast is strong, making the best of a mediocre script. The camera work seems to enjoy the endless preoccupation with poverty and inclement weather and the bleak atmosphere becomes wearing. This is a film with a good idea that just becomes a bit crippled in production. Grady Harp

  • james-nguyen
    james nguyen

    I hate to start a review this way, but you have got to see Crónicas. If you like good Latin American films, if you like thrillers, if you like good acting, writing and directing, you will not be disappointed.At first, this film is difficult to watch, given the subject matter of violence against children. Soon it becomes obvious that there is more to it than that, and that is where the hook comes in.One of the reasons the Crónicas is so compelling is that the theme of ambition cuts through the disturbing material.Others have written about this film much better than I ever could, so I will just end by saying that this is one of those films that in my reveries as a lottery winner, I am giving large sums of money to talented young directors all over the Americas.

  • birgitta-persson
    birgitta persson

    As I watched the opening 10 minutes of this film with budding fascination, a maniacal lynching sequence and a torrid depiction of Ecuador starts to take shape. Slowly the set pieces are positioned amidst the self-possessed ethos of the crowd, with Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo) being the sidestepping knight along side his gutsy rook, Ivan Suarez (Jose Maria Yazpik) who rushes headlong into the mob on a mere command, while their queen, Marisa Iturralde (Leonor Watling) is being kept out of harm’s way by the men. But this television crew is in essence, just pawns to the machinations of the news media’s escalating demands.Bonilla dithers on the sidelines until he finally intervenes. All I’m reminded of is the tragic circumstances surrounding the award winning South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter when he snapped the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of a emaciated Sudanese girl being descended upon by a ravenous vulture. He later described himself as yet another vulture, a predator in the midst of suffering. “Crónicas” is a depressingly cynical look at the state of affairs in a third-world nation and the ersatz concerns that the foreign news media shows in order to exploit its people. Everything that is done carries with it the terrible feeling of ulteriorities as a faux smile and a warm handshake (sometimes tucked in with a bit of cash) manipulates situations and opens doors that should have stayed closed. It is very much an unforgiving indictment on the news media and its dogged pursuit of a ratings goldmine.Threading on the same lines as “Network”, it crosses its fictitious coverage with a compelling thriller involving the ‘Monstruo de Babahoyo’ (Monster of Babahoyo), a serial killer who has raped and murdered over a 150 young children. Bonilla, a self-involved tabloid television reporter and his crew belong to a Spanish language news network stationed in Miami that airs throughout Latin America. He walks about with a swagger, signing autographs and stays on the sidelines waiting for the right moment to turn on the spotlight. But he’s not a hack by any sense of the word. He understands that duplicity is an asset in his line of work, a tool to dig out the information he needs. In this case, he wants to uncover the identity of the Monster for a scoop of a lifetime and potentially his own show. Leguizamo gives the best performance of the cast in his understated portrayal of a well-worn reporter haunted by his guilt and questioning the price of his celebrity. And that’s saying plenty considering that every performance in this Foreign Oscar submission by Ecuador is worth its own weight in dramatic gold.With the backdrop of rampant institutional corruption and those only too willing to exploit it, it paints a harsh and gritty landscape of living in a country of poverty and injustice where everyone has slippery fingers when it comes to the truth. It’s further amplified with a strong sense of visual authenticity, which does not accentuate the grungy dwelling areas, the shantytown slums and frenzied lawlessness of communal disagreements, but instead captures it with an unattached verite style technique.Director Sebastián Cordéro peels back the layers of verisimilitude to slowly reveal the grim, unsettling actualities of his thriller. It shocks and daringly pushes the boundaries of audiences in some ghastly scenes. He constantly pounds us with the ethical dilemmas of journalism such as the validity and protection of sources, the emotional involvement with subjects and brokering of deals that have more to do personal gain than journalistic integrity. The more complicit that Bonilla and his crew become, the more they lose of their conscience. The throwaway lines in particular, divulges much about the inner workings of television journalism and network politics. The conversations between subject and interviewer pose the most perplexity and intrigue, as their insinuations and silence reveal more than words ever could.

  • roksolana-khorishko
    roksolana khorishko

    This has got to be one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in a long time. Like most movies, it’s best that you go into this one without even having seen the trailer (in my opinion, even though it doesn’t spoil anything really, it still gives away too much). It deals with journalist Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo) and his two-headed crew on the trail of a child-murdering serial killer in Ecuador (refered to as the Monster of Babahoyo). At the same time, bible-salesman Vinicio accidentally runs over a little kid with his car and ends up in jail. Manolo sees this opportunity as an extra story, and decides to interview the man. When he does, he finds out one or two things related to the child-murders. To uncover the truth to the matters (as well as getting the story of a lifetime), Manolo will stop at nothing…The foul, hot and steamy Ecuador settings used throughout the movie are as unsettling as they are dominant. After the little prologue, the real opening-scene is extremely hard and uncompromising. After having hit (and killed) the kid with his car, a raving mad crowd tries to lynch Vinicio. They kick his face to a bloody mess, and even set him on fire… until Manolo and his crew intervene. After that, you just know that the movie will not hold back on disturbing and shocking subject matter. And it’s not really that there is more on-screen violence or bloodshed in the rest of the movie. It’s just that the subject matter is so alarming and the truth to the matters is severely disquieting.The cinematography is excellent. Often hand-held cameras are used, to re-create some sense of realism, but it still looks very stylish and it always feels like a real film (so no documentary-style of filming here). The soundtrack is also worth mentioning. Music isn’t over-used in the movie, but when it’s there, it strikes the right chords or just provides a welcome pause to breath. Because at some times the events in this movie are so compelling that they nearly suffocate the viewer (which is, of course, intentional). Sebastián Cordero clearly is a gifted film-maker, since he established a look & feel for this movie that worked effectively. Some shots of the city and landscapes (though not very numerous in the movie) look beautiful. But also during conversations, Cordero chooses his angles carefully. I was pretty amazed on how good he could make it all look with hand-held cameras (kudos also to cinematographer Enrique Chediak, of course).But the best thing about CRÓNICAS must be the story itself, and the way it is set up. However, around the one hour mark, the movie does slow down a bit. Some might say it’s a little flaw in the script, I myself think it’s not. To me it was a welcome moment to just slow down together with the movie and think things over. Speculate and re-evaluate. Because even if CRÓNICAS isn’t a high-tense, fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capturing of a villain, it does contain a lot of tension and even nerve-wrecking scenes as well as gruesome images (not likely to be found in other drama movies). The script itself has got a unique approach to it: After about 20 minutes into the movie, the viewer already knows who the main suspect is, and he’s even already locked behind bars. Only, the authorities don’t know it. The only one who does, is Manolo. But he himself is not sure of it at all. Vinicio knows stuff, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the killer. Manolo’s ways to uncovering the truth get very manipulative at points, and he, as well as his crew, are just bound to make mistakes… but at what costs? The progress of the story does try to mess with your head because as a viewer you also get the feeling you’re being deceived. And even if the story itself, with its mildly convoluted ways, doesn’t really get to you, then the ending most certainly will. Because most likely, you will not like how this movie ends. And that is the biggest strength of this film. It’s just too damn powerful.But CRÓNICAS manages to make other points too. The power of the media is severely questioned here. Also whether the end justifies the means. A topic like Ecuador Police Forces being severely under-staffed gets briefly touched too. And in a detailed manner, I believe Cordero even was trying to tell us: Producers just can’t be trusted. How all this relates to the story, you’ll just have to see for yourself. And let’s not forget the extremely capable cast giving excellent performances. John Leguizamo is as decent as can be. So is Leonor Watling, fellow-journalist (and producer’s wife) in Manolo’s team. Even the whole supporting cast is highly believable. But it will probably be Damián Alcázar, as Vinicio Cepeda (who spends the biggest part of the story behind prison walls), that is most memorable. His performance, and even more, the character he plays will stick with you forever. The man at least deserves an award of some sort.Because of being such a powerful movie with a compelling story, I can do nothing but strongly recommend CRÓNICAS. But a word of warning nevertheless: Parents who lost a kid in some way beyond their will, should probably better not see this film. It’s very difficult subject matter to handle. And people just looking for a feel-good movie to watch, should best run like hell when they come across CRÓNICAS.

  • oliwier-mrotek
    oliwier mrotek

    I’m a great fan of John Leguizamo. I and millions of fans have watched this young man emerge onto center stage with such enormous abilities few can gage his ultimate limits. He is by far the most impressive, certainly the most gifted and multi-talented thespian to come along since the late great Danny Kaye. Anyone who has followed his career, has seen him express himself in such venues as Comedian, Singer, Dancer and of course Screen Actor. This is just one of the dozens of film he can be found in. In this story entitled “Cronicas” (Which means, Newspaper) he plays an international reporter who comes across a disturbing story of a Serial Killer. Not only is the man wanted for the murder of dozens of missing children, but the majority of the victims have been raped and dispatched horribly. Leguizamo plays the part of Manolo Bonilla, a gifted, aggressive, crafty but most of all unscrupulous T.V. reporter. Dismissing the ramifications of acting hastily, he sees an opportunity to advance his career in the industry by first enlisting, befriending and eventually releasing the serial killer, Vinicio Cepeda (Damián Alcázar) whom the people call ‘The Monster.’ Although repeatedly warned his actions might create unwarranted sympathy for the suspect, Bonilla nonetheless proceeds and eventually creates an up swelling of support for the prisoner, despite the fact other inmates have ascertained his guilt. It is not until Bonilla has his story and returning home that several of his sources inform him, he may have been wrong, does he realize his culpability. The movie is great in location, drama and character definitions. Perhaps the only draw-back to the film is that its nearly all in Spanish and viewers must struggle with sub-titles. One other warning is that a viewer must not be faint of heart as this movie is downright disturbing in topic. ****

  • szabo-eva
    szabo eva

    Crónicas, to paraphrase one of its key characters, explores territory that not many explore. Very well-written and tightly directed, this film quietly observes as ambition, arrogance, and lust orchestrate the gradual slip of personal integrity until grave consequence irrevocably rears its head. Just what form that consequence takes depends on which ending you choose to adopt: an alternate ending is given on the special features menu of the DVD. Be ready for an intense and demanding flick, not a fun, popcorn-spilling thriller. I was reminded at times of the dark tone of the Spanish film, Tésis, though Crónicas goes way beyond Tésis’ reach. Superb acting, especially by Damián Alcázar as Vinicio. Alcázar has been making films since the mid-80’s (El Crimen del Padre Amaro was one of his higher profile projects), and he shows the depth and dynamism of his experience here. Sebastián Cordero – who also wrote Crónicas – is a director to watch. From what I can find, this is his second film (Ratas, Ratones, y Ratoneros was his first). His current project is Manhunt, announced for 2007, with Harrison Ford as credited cast. Looks like the big time has found Mr. Cordero.

  • alexandros-boukas
    alexandros boukas

    This film is one of the more important films of this age, especially for countries such as the United States where new stations such as Fox News dominate the airwaves. I am very surprised that a film with stars such as John Leguizamo giving great performances, and the support of Alfred Molina, that this film isn’t receiving wide distribution in the United States.The film exposes the fringes of Ecuador by setting the story in one of the country’s poorest areas, the province of Los Rios in its filthy capital Babahoyo. Against this backdrop we see a group of journalists from a Mexican news station known for its program “Una Hora con la Verdad (An Hour with the Truth)” confront some of the harsh realities present in these areas. In their efforts to expose the life in los Rios, they learn how little they actually know about the people there and how difficult it can be to provide the Truth for their viewers.

  • dr-kovacs-rozalia-gabriella
    dr kovacs rozalia gabriella

    The power of the sensational media is examined in this film by Ecuadorian director Sebastian Cordero. He has created a disturbing piece of film making, almost a documentary, in style, that examines how unscrupulous journalists manipulate the news. “Cronicas” is a tough movie to sit through, but perhaps that’s Mr. Cordero’s achievement. The film will make one think.”Cronicas” takes us to the interior of Ecuador. There is a pederast running wild in the countryside raping and killing innocent children. An investigating reporter, Mannolo Bonilla, is sent to investigate about the case. Bonilla is based in Miami, where he no doubt contributes to those sensational types of programs directed to Latinos in which a lot of blood and gore is the norm for some of those Spanish channels.Manolo Bonilla is a man who has seen a lot. That is why when Vinicio’s car kills one young boy, he is taken by the mob before the police arrive and he is set on fire. Manolo instructs his cameraman to keep on filming because that item will run prominently in Victor’s program. Vinicio is saved by the police, who take him to jail together with the people who tortured him, and the father of the boy who was killed.Bonilla suspects Vinicio of being the famous Monster of Babahoyo. The problem is that Vinicio is a cunning man, who might be the one killing the children. When he interviews him, Bonilla thinks he has unearthed the truth, but through mixed signals, Victor goes ahead with the story and Vinicio is made to appear as a victim and is released from prison. In the end, Bonilla leaves the country as a hero, but little does he know he has contributed to perpetuate the killings that will continue because the real culprit is at large.John Leguziamo has one of the best moments of his career as the journalist who passes through all these troubled areas capturing for the camera and interviewing people who will have to deal with their own reality in their environment, whereas Manolo Bonilla will return home to Miami and will probably forget about what he has seen.Damian Alcazar is Vinicio, the bible salesman with a lot in his conscience. He is a troubled soul who is in denial and don’t recognize his guilt. Mr. Alcazar gives a great performance. Leonor Watling is Victor’s wife and a producer of the news program. Alfred Molina is only seen on his television program, but doesn’t have much to do.The cinematography of Enrique Chediak captures the misery and the substandard conditions of the area where the film takes place. The haunting music by Antonio Pinto enhances the action. Ultimately, the director Sebastian Cordero is to be congratulated for clarifying for us the concept that if it is seen on television, then, it must be true what we are being shown, and it’s the truth, even if it is manipulated one.

  • taylor-black
    taylor black

    Crónicas is more than just another lame and wannabe provocative satire that wants to prove how the media and charismatic reporters are capable of influencing people’s opinions and emotions. In fact, it does handle about that, but it’s definitely not a dumb satire. It’s a harsh and harrowing social drama, set in an ultimately depressing environment and focusing on the inhabitants of a country that the pubic opinion usually neglects. Here is one foreign film production that Hollywood isn’t likely to remake any time soon, and even if some fancy producer would consider a remake, you can rest assured that the content and especially the whole denouement will be changed drastically. The story entirely takes place in a small village in Ecuador, where a feared psychopath has already sexually abused and killed nearly 150 innocent children. New mass graves are discovered almost on a weekly basis and the petrified community fears the murderer will never be caught. The acclaimed Miami TV-reporter Manolo Bonilla, on location with his crew to shoot a documentary on the issue, prevents a man from getting lynched by an angry mob when he causes a car accident involving a young boy. Whilst in prison, the man provides Bonilla with a lot of detailed information concerning the murders and the reporter quickly becomes obsessed with the idea of catching the killer himself. In exchange for further information, Bonilla promises the man to do an emotional TV-show about his wrongful imprisonment. “Crónicas” benefices from a powerful first half hour and especially the climax sequences are ultimately fascinating and shocking. Unfortunately the middle-section of the film is somewhat sluggish and dull, but at least you can admire the beautiful filming location and the genuinely moving acting performances of the overall unknown cast. The film contains several unsettling images of violence and human misery, but the unconventional ending is far more shocking & disturbing than on screen violence could ever be. And you can even despise the characters for their action, because deep down you realize you’d do exactly the same. This film isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s definitely a film you won’t forget easily.

  • ernests-rozitis
    ernests rozitis

    Damián Alcázar (The Crime of Father Amaro, Lord Sopespian in Prince Caspian) gives a truly remarkable performance in a compelling film by young writer/director Sebastián Cordero.There are two stories going on at the same time. One is a story of a vicious rapist/serial killer who preys on young boys and girls; and the other is about the role of the media in our society.John Leguizamo plays a star reported that knows who the killer is and is trying to get the confession for a news story. In the meantime, events transpire that result in the killer’s release before he accomplishes this.Leonor Watling (La mala educación, Paris, je t’aime) plays the producer who wants to tell what they know, while Leguizamo fights to keep it a secret and play off the hero status he gained. Who will win? Will his conscience get the better of him? That is the real story here, as we debate the role of media. Are they reporting the news, and becoming part of the news.The view of rural Ecuadorian life is also a big plus to the enjoyment of this film.Compelling.

  • wiktor-zok
    wiktor zok

    Remind me never to be a journalist in South America. Not only are you putting your physical well being in danger, but the psychological trauma must be unbearable! John Leguizamo gives the strongest performance of his career as Manolo Bonilla, a Miami journalist who goes to Ecuador to investigate a serial killer called “The Monster” who has raped and murdered over a hundred children.Cronicas opens with the funeral for three of the latest victims. When a child runs into the street and is hit by a car, the driver of that car, named Vinicio, is attacked by a mob that beats him, douses him in gasoline, and sets him on fire. All the while, Manolo is filming every second of the attack, but he eventually intervenes and saves the man’s life.Vinicio is sent to prison where he covers himself in his own excrement to keep from being attacked by other inmates. Manolo offers to help Vinicio get out of prison if he gives him information about “The Monster.” Through the power of the media and the sway of public opinion, Vinicio is set free. But has justice actually been served, or has this reporter helped to free a vicious serial killer? Cronicas is dark, twisted, and positively rife with dramatic irony… the kind that makes you want to scream at the screen, “Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!” But the actors never listen, do they?

  • glib-ustenko
    glib ustenko

    I had the chance to see Crónicas at the Sundance film festival this week, and was very impressed. The film relates to the story of a Latin American reporter and his crew who are investigating a serial rapist in Ecuador. When a man claiming to have insight into the murders hits and kills a young boy with his truck, he proposes to the reporter an exchange: information on the murders for a favorable report on the accident. The reporter, played by John Leguizamo, agrees to the arrangement. As new evidence is unearthed, a troubling conflict of interest emerges…This film uses its location in Ecuador to great effect, evoking the personality and character of a small Latin American village. The murder mystery genre is well explored in this interesting, taut thriller. I had particular respect for how the director ended this film, refusing to settle for a clean resolution, opting instead for a more complex (and truer to life) finale.

  • helmi-mikkonen
    helmi mikkonen

    Thank you for bringing up the story about the terror that affected many Ecuadorian families. I think the actors did a great job, they were very convincing. I watched the movie with my American girlfriend and she was very moved. However, I am from Edcuador and I lived in Guayaquil when those crimes happened. The real name of the the killer was Daniel Barbosa Camargo and his real nickname was the Monster of the Andes. There were a couple of things that did not match the time frame when that happened. First of all, the flip flap cell phones were not invented then. Second of all, I am willing to bet that the bar where the actors were drinking at, did not have a color TV but an old beat up black and white TV set. I was a little disappointed with the end of the movie. I thought they were going to show at least in writing what happened to the Monster after he was incarcerated like the fact that he was killed inside prison and more than likely tortured like hell before that happened. A very important issue that could have been part of the movie was the fact that at the time there were conspiracy theories, stories about a dark SUV that was picking up the victims and also the theory that there were more than just one killer. Nobody in Ecuador believed at first that such a little fragile looking man like Camargo could have committed all those crimes. I hope that in the future you can make another film and continue with the story in a more realistic manner. I am open for comments if you need my assistance. Best regards.

  • valentina-andriiovich
    valentina andriiovich

    Crónicas (2004) written and directed by Sebastián Cordero, is a grim movie about a grim subject. John Leguizamo plays Manolo Bonilla, a Miami-based TV reporter who is covering the story of a “monster” who is torturing and murdering young children in Ecuador.Manolo is a good detective as well as a reporter of sensational news, and he thinks he may have discovered the identity of the murderer. The question is, Should a reporter just report, or should he be a participant in the story he is covering?Leonor Watling is excellent as Marisa Iturralde, Manolo’s producer and possibly his lover. Camilo Luzuriaga is excellent in the supporting role of Capitan Bolivar Rojas–“the only honest cop in Ecuador.”This is not a movie for the squeamish–it contains violence, scenes of humiliation, and graphic–but unromantic–sex.On the other hand, how often do you find a movie from Ecuador playing in Rochester, New York? Even at our excellent Little Theatre, films from South America are rare, and often–as in this case–worth seeking out.Finally, if the views we get of prison conditions in Ecuador are accurate, I wouldn’t even risk a parking ticket there, let alone anything more serious. Trust me–you just don’t want to be in that particular Ecuadoran jail.

  • robert-eirik-ronning
    robert eirik ronning

    In case you are not familiar, Sebastian’s first big movie was Ratas, Ratones y Rateros. That was a great movie, it showed a side of Ecuador that hadn’t been explores or showed before. He had the magic of showing a probably not unique story in a unique way, a Latin and Ecuadorian way. In Cronicas, he does this and more. First, it shows a reality that may even be unknown for some Ecuadorian. It escapes from big cities and nice stories towards the forgotten towns that are only remembered for unethical journalism or plain mockery. Second, now it is not just a story showing themes particular to a Latin audience but applicable and important for viewers anywhere: masks and the true self, the blurry gray region between good and bad, the relevance of regret… and more.One friend told me, before watching the movie: You will not see TV the same way again. In many ways it is true, Cronicas takes you to the untold and un”spelled-out” stories behind the fractioned images in TV. I am looking forward to Sebastian’s next movie.

  • ignacy-czescik
    ignacy czescik

    “Crónicas” is an updated, Latinization of Billy Wilder’s cynical 1951 film “Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival),” where a tabloid reporter selfishly manipulated an emotional story of a trapped miner.Where films like “Medium Cool” and “The China Syndrome” showed reporters as heroes getting radicalized by the stories they are covering, writer/director Sebastián Cordero effectively creates a hot, grimy, gritty environment for an ethically-challenged tabloid TV reporter who gets too mired in a serial murder investigation in the slums of Equador that recalls the hysteria and circus around the Atlanta child killings.The irony of the power of today’s ubiquitous media is shown to searing effect, including the power to manipulate it for personal purposes by all sides. The cat and mouse negotiations between the reporter and a questionable source (the enthralling Damián Alcázar) are as tense as those in “The Silence of the Lambs,” and in an ugly environs that we can practically smell through the screen.John Leguizamo is completely believable as a swaggering, self-promoting celebrity TV reporter for a popular show covering scandals across the southern hemisphere, flitting from his Miami base to drug lord hostages in Columbia to salacious murders, in and out of English. We are alternately sympathetic to his efforts and his bouts of conscience, then repelled by him.He is flanked by somewhat stereotypes of a lanky, battle-hardened cameraman who eagerly focuses on close-ups of violence and gore and an ambitious woman producer who plunges into research and infidelity with equal verve, who utilize the most shiny, high tech communications gear to capitalize on their tunneling through the muck of human nature, though even they finally reach their ethical boundaries.The focus is kept tightly on the reporter’s responsibilities, as the producer comments ruefully: “We got the only honest cop in Latin America.” The script and the camera certainly play with us, in edits of slowly revealed information that change our impressions of the facts, and as the reporter tensely tries to both get a scoop and do as much of the right thing as his ambitions allow.As an intelligent thriller, this film certainly puts a brutal spin on the issue of a reporter protecting his sources, even as the worst of the implications happens off camera.The background song selections fit the mood, though I have some feeling that the Spanish lyrics had significance.The English subtitles had some errors.

  • adam-fulton
    adam fulton

    It’s hard to rate a movie that you find intensely disturbing and a bit nauseating. I saw this at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and the friend who saw it with me was equally disturbed – we both wanted to give it a rating of F***ed Up. Then again, if you spend the next two hours talking about how much a movie bothered you, that means it was well acted and directed, right? The reporter (Leguizamo) crosses the boundaries of morality and goes too far in pursuit of his story, and the movie ends on a very unsatisfactory note. Still, the bad guy is very good at being a psychopath, and the reporter and his crew are very good at being morally bankrupt. See Cronicas, but brace yourself for unpleasant subject matter.

  • marie-therese-jacob
    marie therese jacob

    Young Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordéro’s “Crónicas” begins and mostly sustains itself as good intense fictional coverage of what can happen when corrupt, sensationalistic journalists in Latin America cover a crime wave far from home base and encounter what even for them are obvious moral conflicts when they attempt to exploit it.A Mexican news team out of Miami goes to cover the search for “the Monster of Babahoyo,” a pedophile serial killer in the province of Los Rios in a remote part of Ecuador. A violent incident in the street when the team arrives in Babahoyo puts their reporter in contact with somebody who may be a victim of public hysteria, or may be the killer. Crónicas never gives you time to think and screws up its suspenseful situation into a tight knot and then lets go and drops you. Somewhat ironically the result feels very like the first episode of a sensational TV miniseries. The film would have been better if it had stepped back occasionally and let us and the story breathe. A haunting opening sequence of a man alone bathing and washing clothes gives a hint of how that might have happened.The news people are serviceable stereotypes: photogenic lead reporter Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo); his sexy female producer Marisa (Leonore Watling), who soon hops into bed with him; his raunchy, substance-abusing cameraman Ivan (José María Yazpik), who has to keep pointing out that they’re all supposed to be a team. To lend cred and support to the movie and give them a boss there’s Alfred Molina in the background phoning in as Miami anchorman Victor of a fictitious news show, “Una Hora con la Verdad,” seen and heard only on tiny TV screens and ever-present cells. Haunting the news team as it prances around and threatening a confrontation that never really materializes is “the only honest cop in Latin America,” who happens to be the local police captain and seems to have a lot of time on his hands which he spends tracking the news team and reminding them they’re not following the rules. Such reminders are feeble since they’re free to fly out whenever they want and have plenty of money to bribe low level cops. Besides that Manolo is asked for his autograph constantly and greeted as a hero for things he now wishes he hadn’t done.Director Sebastián Cordéro’s best move in “Crónicas” is to try to build a serial killer who’s not a spooky Hannibal Lector type super-villain but a human being whom his victims trust and other people like. Cordéro makes real headway at achieving that goal by choosing the pitiful, sweet-faced Damián Alcázar to play Vinicio Cepeda, the “witness” in prison who may be the suspect. Where Vinicio fits in winds up being too clearly telegraphed, but the best scenes are still the ones where Vinicio gives creepy, insinuating testimony to Manolo (away from Ivan’s camera) and bargains for his life.What also makes “Crónicas” worth watching, if you can stomach the theme and don’t mind the simplifications and lack of modulation in the sequences, are the grittily authentic local backgrounds: messy hotel rooms, grungy prison cells, chaotic streets, shantytown dwellings. These give the in-your-face story a sense of authenticity that isn’t entirely undercut by the stereotypes and the pumped-up action. What doesn’t quite work is a screenplay that gets everything going full speed from the first reel and never lets up till it just walks away leaving you waiting for the next gripping episode.(Seen at the San Francisco Film Festival, May 3, 2005)