Set in Acapulco, Drama/Mex opens on a restaurant patio, where an aloof young beauty named Fernanda (Garcia) is telling off Chano (Valdés), a boyish and cocky ex-lover who has rematerialized. Chano follows her home and forces himself on her; she resists at first, then joins in enthusiastically. Before we can process this disturbing scene, Fernanda and Chano have made plans to run off together—understandably provoking the ire of Fernanda’s current boyfriend, hotheaded Gonzalo (Castañeda).
Meanwhile, we meet Jaime (Becerril), a numb middle-aged man who may or may not be molesting his daughter. Jaime checks into a motel room to commit suicide but instead starts hanging with a precocious teenage runaway who has stolen his wallet. They’ll end up on that same restaurant patio—not the last time these two sets of characters will glancingly intersect.
Produced by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna of Y Tu Mamá También fame, the film has all the ingredients of a gritty Latin indie like Amores Perros: shaky handheld cameras, overlapping narratives, time shifts, striking young cast. But all the edgy style in the world can’t camouflage a black hole. Drama/Mex turns loose these insistently shallow characters and provides no insight into their bad behavior.
Cast and crew