What You Need To Know:
ALBERTO EXPRESS begins with a clever premise: that of a young man's desperate belief that he must repay his father every last cent spent on him in childhood before his own son is born. However, instead of offering insight into family ties (both good and ill), this film spins way off course during an overnight train ride which turns into surrealistic mush.
(B, L, S) The question of responsibility for one's debts and sins is confused by: 4 obscenities & 2 profanities; sexual immorality implied; repeated episodes of stealing; and, surrealistic interaction with dead ancestors.
The film ALBERTO EXPRESS begins with a clever premise: that of a young man’s desperate belief that he must repay his father every last cent spent on him in childhood before his own son is born, or suffer dire consequences. In 1968, fifteen-year-old Alberto tallies the cost of his upbringing to his father which amounts to $25,000. Fifteen years later, as Alberto awaits his first child’s birth, he has the awful realization that he must repay his father, or suffer the consequences. On a wild train ride, he manages to steal wallets and jewelry, and to do some other immoral acts to raise money. Finally, he stumbles into a boxcar of his dead ancestors, who haggle over who owes what to whom. The patriarch of this group is himself arguing with God over his own debt (sin?), a notion both uninspired and not terribly amusing. He pays his father’s debt and in the closing scene, presents his son with a new toy minus the price tag.
ALBERTO EXPRESS suffers from a severe identity crisis with its lack of focus never being clear as to what it is about. If it’s about family ties, the theme gets derailed during the frantic train ride. If Alberto represents Everyman, he is driven by forces he can’t comprehend and his response to the family curse, as well as his unreserved thievery and disloyalty to his wife, is irrational. The film’s lack of focus is unfortunate, but the movie does contain moments of dazzling visual flair and cleverness.