Either from the often strikingly intimate handheld shots or his script, which bleeds unfiltered affection for his characters and the night-soaked streets of Berkeley, Quest is uncomplicated humanism that plays equally to the people at the front row as well as those at the back of theater.
With his camera at hand and a burning human to point it on, the most the film gets out of its subjects is an ill-advised, one-sided conversation where black residents and “woke” allies point to clear-cut racism and the folksy residents shrug their shoulders and deflect.
There is the potential for a moving tragicomic exercise in the Jan Lewan story, but sadly the latest Netflix feature settles for a middling goofball romp that has a few smiles but little staying power.
From the unmistakable vibrant colors that adorn its fully realized characters (all played by real Spanish-speaking actors) to the soundtrack bursting with guitar-plucking, toe-tapping flavor, Pixar surprises nobody through its unwillingness to compromise and to let Coco stand out as the one-of-a-kind film that is (although it begs the question of why such a cultural touchstone would need a 21-minute lead-in by the “whitest” of Christmas specials in the grating Olaf's Frozen Adventure, but I digress).
There's no experience quite as enriching as watching a film that allows its surface narrative to betray a loaded and mystifying interior meaning that's both elusive and begging to be milled for interpretation.