Despite the boil-in-the-bag plot - struggling musician (salsa superstar Blades) hits big time and goes off the rails - this has lots going for it. It's the story of countless jazz and rock musicals, and the song remains the same, that rich whites in their 5th Avenue eyries still run and ruin people's lives. But this deals with the new leisure marginals: the salsa musicians of America's massive barrio populations. Barring one set piece, the music is subordinate to the narrative, sometimes annoyingly so. That said, the soundtrack remains a powerful cultural, er, signifier, and Blades and cast turn in strong, unsentimental performances. Apart from some choc-boxy scenes, Ichaso films New York with a hard-edged realism, presenting the mixed Latin communities cusping on their own social crossover.
Cast and crew
Manuel Arce, Rubén Blades, Leon Ichaso