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Price of The American Dream 2
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: A Family struggles when single Mother of four, Laura Munoz loses her job to outsourcing. Moving from Los Angeles to a small town in New Mexico, they face the harsh reality of leaving the comforts of the big city. The eldest son, Manny, still recovering from his Father s death struggles the most. Quickly joining a gang he gets caught up in a whirlwind of violence.
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The film continues the story of Laura Muñoz (Julieta Ortiz) now in a struggling situation after the murder of her husband Chendo. With the help of her brother Meño, she moves her four children, Manny, Carlos, Alexandra, and Daniel from Los Angeles to a small town in New Mexico hoping to recover and move back. But soon Manny and Alex begin hanging out with gangsters of the area with Carlos and Daniel struggling to stay away from such things. But Laura also faces her own temptations at gaining back money when her boss attempts an affair. It's only further proof that the price of the American dream has risen.
This film soars above the original and even though it has the II label to it, it could easily be seen as a stand-alone film though I encourage seeing the first one as well. The entire cast, including the five leads which brings in Hollywood actors Julieta Ortiz and Luis Arrieta is a great ensemble of experienced, first-timer, and local unknown actors. In knowing the history of the making of the film, it is amazing what is done on-screen if you have any doubts. Nichole Otero and Nathan Sanchez who play two of the younger Muñoz children shined on screen above and beyond. They were able to bring out their true talent in the film in itself because at the time, all three were first timers.
Including production, the film never loses sight of the big picture. It took what it had and blew it up making it enormous. Though it takes place in a small town this time around, the action the story brings in and the situations the five Munoz family members must face ultimately sets the story into a rolling motion that never takes a moment for you to breathe. You feel the emotions of the characters and for anyone who has been in this situation, they will be able to see from Laura's point of view just how hard it is to make through certain aspects in life especially with the death of another whether in the past or the present.
Many who have seen number one thought of this along the same lines when it is a completely different film in script, story, and production. From parties to gang violence and even car chases, Price II will astound anyone who sees it especially for those of us who know how little it took to get the film made. From locations in the splendorous New Mexico, the film can also be seen as a work of art in the differences of culture. The darkness of the underground life of gangs to the seemingly bright areas of reality for people with normal lives where darkness of a secret can only enshroud a person as well as the people it affects. The film was shot incredibly and pleasing to the eye.
Another thing that caught my attention was the music. From the beautifully arranged original soundtrack to the rap songs incorporated into scenes of the film, there's not a moment the music comes into play in a scene where you don't notice it. It fits so well. Composed gorgeously by Rich Ragsdale who also did The Curse of El Charro, the written soundtrack was my favorite part from the low strumming of an acoustic guitar to the sound design from an electric guitar much like the moodiness of 21 Grams. Each bit of song envelopes the film and brings out the true essence behind what the film tries to do with each character. It was a nice blend.
Laguna Productions standard of filmmaking have risen incredibly high over these years they have been producing. Their usual fare has brought forth such films as these as well as great films in the past that continue to entertain audiences. Incredible job by director Michael Amundsen with his limited resources. He was able to push the envelope and make a high-powered film come out of close to nothing. Attributed to the many people that put their heart and soul into the film, you will enjoy this film for what it is. Don't think twice about seeing it, though. You may get something out of it you never thought you could.