Ray and Ramona are regular activists in the political scene and were brought together by their mutual beliefs in both politics and love. Ray is becoming restless and frustrated with what is occurring in Salvador Atenco and wants to take his activism even further -- to extreme and violent levels. While Ramona remains hesitant, Ray's desire to do something drastic takes them both down a dark path that will do more than to question their relationship.
Author, former Head of Development Canana and writer for Gael Garcia Bernal's debut feature film, "Déficit", Kyzza Terrazas finally makes his own film debut with "El lenguaje de los machetes". Or "Machete Language" if you're too white to pronounce the original title, like me. Terrazas seemed to intent on making a big splash with his debut by making a political film featuring Mexico punk-rock icon, Jessy Bulbo, and artist Andrés Almeida. Being hailed as, "A cross between 'Sid and Nancy' and 'Day Night Day Night'", I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting as "Machete Language" isn't exactly my forte.
Ray (Andrés Almeida) comes from an upper class family but lives a moderately low-key life as a videographer -- often capturing the unease of the political scene -- and regular activist. His long time girlfriend, Ramona (Jessy Bulbo), is local punk musician and is also an activist. With an outbreak of violence and suppression in Salvador Atenco, Ray finally decides to take his activism to an extreme level and beings plotting an act of terrorism. Ramona, while dealing with her own family's crisis, also desperately wants to do something to make a difference but not to the extent of what Ray has in mind. Their bond and commitment to one another may push them to a point of no return.
While I've stated it before I do feel the need to mention that my interest in the political spectrum is nil. Because of that, it is hard for me to become full invested in a film like "Machete Language" because it is idealism motivated by a corrupt and unfair political system that serves as the catalyst for the characters. With that said though, it doesn't feel like it is inherently as important to the story as I thought it would be. It gives reason to the character motivation and also acts as both an environmental and personal conflict for Ray and Ramona, so it's not senseless. However, at times it almost felt like that plot point could have been switched out with something else and the movie would have remained the same.
Is that entirely true? I'm not too sure, to be honest. Again, because I don't have a mindset for politics, it could have been my own ignorance blocking out the importance of this element. Or maybe not. What doesn't change and what remains important is the dynamic relationship between Ray and Ramona -- what the movie is actually about. The "Sid and Nancy" reference is actually one that fits the movie very well since it is honestly about those toxic relationships that people find themselves in: deep down you know a person is not good for you, but there's something that keeps you there all the same. Ray and Ramona, while sharing the same belief and ideals, come from different worlds and ultimately do have different points-of-view, even if their love for one another may hide that fact.
The characters are the glue that holds the movie together and watching the relationship -- which is astonishingly believable -- begin to unravel as they let that same idealism that brought them together, tear them apart. You watch and you wait to see how far is it going to go, how far are they willing to go for one another and find out how long love will truly last.
The rough and almost gritty way "Machete Language" was made, manages to create a reflective atmosphere of the toxicity of the relationship between the characters. Even though I don't believe I was as full invested in the movie as I should have been, I can appreciate the story that Kyzza Terrazas was looking to tell. At the very least, he managed to create two interesting and believable characters that are able to show how dangerous love can be, even when people are aware of that inherent danger.