Benjamin Bratt, Talisa Soto, Giancarlo Esposito, Rita Moreno, Mandy Patinkin
Widescreen; closed caption; Spanish subtitles; "A Look at Miguel Piñero, the Man" featurette; theatrical trailer.
|A non-linear verité method enhances this solid biofilm about the junkie bard of Manhattan Puerto Rican poet/playwright/convict Miguel Piñero, a significant player in the New York theater scene during the '70s and '80s. Piñero, played by Benjamin Bratt as a clashing composite of life-craving gusto and doomy, self-destructive angst, was a felon whose passionate, insightful writing helped liberate him from a jail term through a pardon. His play about prison life, "Short Eyes," became a Broadway hit, and he began to get film and TV work as a writer and actor. A movement of Latino poets, energized by Piñero's work and success, sprung up in Manhattan. All the while, he struggled against his addictions and other demons. The cast, which includes Talisa Soto as Piñero's mistreated love interest, Rita Moreno as his mother, Giancarlo Esposito as a mentor and Mandy Patinkin as theatrical producer Joe Papp, is qualified. But it's Bratt's textured, deeply felt performance that breathes life into "Piñero."|