| February 28, 2012

They say that the grass is always greener on the other side. That’s what Jesse Torres (Roger Gutierrez) thinks. There are consequences to growing up in a small town. It gets very lonely. After the death of his parents, Jesse leaves the little ranch in north California that he grew up on in pursuit of the bright lights of Los Angeles.
But what he finds isn’t quite as bright as he imagined.
Jesse meets up with an old friend from his ranch, Tom (Brian Eric Johnson), but is surprised to discover that Tom is a lot different than he was when they were kids. He also meets the troubled but sweet ‘Lil Bit’, a young woman with a mysterious past that she’s not really letting onto. This new life of adventure gets more intense as the days go by, and Jesse begins to think a lot harder about life thus far.
Ranchero has great photographic angles and shots, both landscape and close up (appropriate, since Jesse is an amateur photographer). The sound mixing is very raw and fitting for the film. Unfortunately, the first half of the movie features some very poor acting. The lines might be cheesy, too, but even if they weren’t, many of them are poorly delivered, especially on Tom’s part. “When’d you start talking like a rapper?” Jesse asks his friend, who simply shrugs and replies, “Streets.” This might have been acceptable if Tom’s dialect wasn’t so awkward. Even he appeared uncomfortable to speak with such slang. The flashbacks, distinguished by black and white cinematography, are also a little gimmicky.
The quieter scenes and close-up shots displayed in the film show just how lonely Jesse really is. He finds a friend in his camera, and in the anonymous individuals who allow him to take their picture. Ranchero really has some great moments. The suspense heightens as the film progresses, all leading up to the scary confrontation and close.
Innocence is a virtuous quality that is often mistaken for weakness, and the people Jesse faces often mistake his friendliness for an inability to cope with reality. This is far from the truth, as he is actually a very well-adjusted individual; he just doesn’t fit in such a brash and angry society. Every person has their issues, but it seems his burden is being surrounded by people in need who can’t or don’t want to be helped. People do what they have to do to get along in the world, and sometimes that’s all there is to it.

About the Author:

Caress is a Chicagoan who has a deep fascination with film. Her love for movies began as an undergraduate at Roosevelt University, where her teacher suggested she write a movie review. Caress' favorite genres include indie dramas, foreign films, experimental films, and psychological thrillers. When she's not watching movies, Caress enjoys writing, photography, travel, fashion and music.
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