"Lost in the Dark"
What You Need To Know:
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS uses a variety of elements for shock value and incorporates some prominent actors. For example, Sean Penn plays a Cuban with a horrible accent, and Johnny Depp is a transvestite and a general. These actors’ roles seem to be meant to help sell the movie, rather than being just a bit part. A depressing tone is added to by the movie’s rough quality, including its actual footage of Dictator Fidel Castro. This only serves as the palette from which a life without Christ is painted. Thus, full male nudity, a homosexual worldview, depicted sexual perversions, and many other questionable elements make this movie one to avoid
(HoHoHo, Pa, B, PC, L, VV, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, M) Homosexual perspective on Cuban oppression with some pagan, moral & politically correct elements; 2 obscenities & some obscenities said in Spanish; implied slap on boy’s cheek by mother, man hacks away with an axe at tree which boy had carved poetry in, man punches man, man taken away by soldiers, man knocked out, man put into solitary confinement, depicted corpse after hot air balloon carrying man crashes into wall, & man puts plastic bag over other man’s face to suffocate him; woman shown performing oral sex on boy, man puts hand on other man’s leg, male kissing, depicted men have sex with each other, implied casual sex between bisexual man & woman, & some sexual talk; several scenes of full male nudity & women in bathing suits; alcohol use & abuse; cigarette & cigar smoking & man attempts suicide by downing a bottle of pills; and, revenge.
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS portrays the life of homosexual Cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas from childhood to his death in 1990.
Reynaldo describes his childhood as “growing up in a house full of angry women who were all bossed around by my grandmother.” The impression of any male figure is exhibited when one day his schoolteacher informs Reynaldo’s grandfather that Reynaldo has a “gift.” She goes on to say that Reynaldo’s gift is for writing poetry, causing his grandfather to storm outside and hack away at a tree on which Reynaldo has written some verses. Soon after, Reynaldo attempts to join Fidel Castro’s revolutionaries.
As an adolescent, Reynaldo is exposed to his first sexual encounter with a woman at a party, but, as an adult, that he becomes a homosexual. This becomes grounds for his persecution in Cuba. Reynaldo is not only treated with contempt because of his perverted sexual desires, but for his writing as well. At first, the authorities handle the situation by bringing false charges of molestation against him, taking him to jail. He escapes and, the same night, attempts to float via an inner tube to the United States. He does not make it, however, and is put in a more secure prison where he is often ordered into solitary confinement.
Eventually, the Cuban Communist dictatorship decides to rid the country of homosexuals, criminals and the mentally disabled. Reynaldo is then able to go to the United States, where he later dies due to illness.
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS tries to capture the essence of political oppression towards a man for his anti-conformist writing and homosexuality, though the personal depiction of Reynaldo is an example of a lonely, hurting man. This depressing tone is added to by the movie’s rough quality, including its actual footage of Dictator Fidel Castro. This technique is used in an effective, artistic style, but only serves as the palette from which a life without Christ is painted. Reynaldo is passionate about his writing, and even aids a young writer in New York, though he is dying. Despite the coming and going of friends, it seems as though there is truly no one for Reynaldo to turn to when he needs.
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS uses a variety of elements meant for shock value. It also uses several well-known people in prominent roles. For example, Sean Penn plays a Cuban with a horrible accent, and Johnny Depp is a transvestite and a general. These actors’ roles seem to be meant to help sell the movie, rather than being just a bit part. This and the movie’s sympathetic homosexual worldview, scenes of full frontal male nudity, depicted sex, and many other immoral elements make this movie one to avoid.