Starring: Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo, Estela Inda
Director: Luis Buñuel
Running Time: 88 mins
Los Olvidados (AKA The Young And The Damned) is a Mexican film about the lives of young boys in the slums of Mexico City, and how the violence of others corrupts the morals of one such young boy, little Pedro, sending him into a world of crime and chaos.
Well, this film is depressing, and pretty brutal as well. It’s a fascinating story that shows the lives of Mexican slumdogs in a very realistic light, and along with a great deal of tension and other story lines, this film can be intriguing to watch, however it isn’t terribly engaging or well-paced, which does often make it a bit boring to watch.
Starting with the main downsides of this film, I thought that, even for something by Buñuel, the ordering of this was just a little bit off. I understand that his films are normally very surrealist, and therefore a bit of chaos in terms of the setting out of the story is great, but seeing as this film is a look at social realism, that character doesn’t fit at all well.
The main problem that you’ve got in this story is that it never has any sort of consistent pace. In various scenes, you’ve got a lengthy, slow and partly irrelevant section, and then a rapid-fire, dramatic and more important scene that catches you a little off guard after sitting through the boredom of the preceding scene.
Now, you could say that that inconsistency of the story does mirror the chaotic lives of the people in the slums shown in this film, and although that is a valid idea, it doesn’t escape the fact that some parts of this film are honestly not at all interesting to watch.
What I was really impressed by in this film, though, was its representation of the lives of the Mexican slumdogs. I was first surprised by the fact that Buñuel was willing to be so realistic in terms of the plot and his direction, because his work is normally some of the most ridiculously surreal stuff you can get.
However, here, you do in fact get a fascinating look into the lives of these boys, and how poverty completely corrupts their childhood into becoming all about violence and gang warfare, similar to the themes you find in something like City Of God, so that was very good.
Along with the main concept of gang warfare in the slums, you get a side story, relating to the relationship between the young Pedro and his mother. It suggest that poverty does not directly corrupt the lives of children, but in fact those of their parents, and following on from that, parents lose care and love for their sons and daughters, forcing the children to resort to crime and thuggery to either get attention or any sense of worth, which they don’t receive from their parents, which I found hugely intriguing.
Overall, I’ll give this a 7.1, because although it had a fascinating story with intriguing themes, it felt too disordered and often boring to watch.