Variety - 05/22/1985
"...A nobly conceived on-the-scene look at the battle between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-backed Contras in Nicaragua..."
Haskell Wexler's first work as a director since 1968's MEDIUM COOL, LATINO targets a time and place of political upheaval. In this instance the time and place is the Nicaragua of the early 1980s, with the Sandinista rebels taking control of the government after the departure of Anastasio Somoza. The U.S. conducts a number of legal and illegal operations in the country, including large-scale backing of the insurgent Contras forces. This includes sending trainers, among whom are former Green Beret officers Eddie (Robert Beltran) and Ruben (Tony Plana). While there, Eddie becomes romantically involved with Marlene, a former expatriate who's committed to the Sandinista cause. Eddie has an opportunity to observe the forces he's supposedly training commit outrages against women and children while he becomes aware that the government the U.S. is trying to depose is dedicated to the welfare of its people. Wexler, one of the film medium's foremost cinematographers, reveals a unique ability to write and direct dramatic material as well as to once again show off his visual style, this time with impressively burnished jungle photography.
The morality of America's undercover wars comes under scrutiny in this realistic drama set in Nicaragua. Secretly sent into combat without his dog tags, a Green Beret finds himself fighting a war in the jungles of South America that's not his and against an "enemy" that includes innocent civilians.
Theatrical Release |
Haskell Wexler bailed out George Lucas on AMERICAN GRAFFITI when Lucas was falling behind schedule, working for much less than his usual rate; the STAR WARS creator returned the favor by acting as an uncredited producer on this film.