Trouble With The Heights More Proof Of The Power Of Indie Flicks

Courtesy:  Viva Pictures

Courtesy: Viva Pictures

Viva Pictures’ crime drama, Trouble in the Heights is an interesting movie.  This is not exactly what one would think about when one thinks about crime dramas.  And it’s also not the standard shoot-‘em-up action movie, either.  Rather than letting itself descend into the standard action subgenre, Writer/Director Jonathan Ullman offers audiences a story that is a deeply emotional piece that will instantly pull in audiences and keep them engaged right to the end of the story’s roughly ninety-minute runtime.       

The story at the center of Trouble in the Heights focuses on the theft of drug dealer Nevada’s (Raul Esparza) ill gotten money by main character Diego’s little brother Javy (Antonio Ortiz) and his friend, Robby (Cruz Santiago).  Because of the actions of Javy and Robby, Diego (Rayniel Rufino) is forced to make some tough decisions.  Those tough decisions only make this hard working man’s life even more difficult, especially in finding out that his girlfriend Ana (Alexandra Metz) is carrying his child.  Diego’s personal struggles both as a result of his brother’s actions and news that he gets from Ana make him a sympathetic and far more believable character than any of the anti-hero stereotypes from other closely related crime thrillers.  Because he is such a believable character, audiences will find it so much easier to root for him.  And because viewers will find it so easy to root for Diego, they will in turn find themselves becoming increasingly engaged in the overall story right to its surprise conclusion.

Ullman’s writing and acting on the part of Rayniel Rufino in Trouble in the Heights are both important parts of the movie’s success.  Just as important to its success was its general lack of violence.  This may come across as a minor factor.  But one would be remiss to ignore this factor.  While guns are brandished, not a single shot is fired and not a single drop of blood is shed throughout the course of the story.  The most extreme level that the violence reaches comes early in the story when Nevada has two of his men throw Robby over a bridge in front of an oncoming train for having stolen his money.  The actual act is never actually shown.  But it is understood that this is what happens to Robby.  Aside from this vile act, the only other extreme included in Trouble in the Heights is the movie’s coarse language.  The language is obviously not suitable for younger viewers.  But it helps to make the characters and story that much more believable.

The general lack of violence, the solid acting of Rayniel Rufino, and writing throughout Trouble in the Heights help to make the movie stand on its own feet against the endless flow of fare more violence and sex laden movies within the crime drama/thriller genre.  There is at least one more factor that viewers should take into account in considering the movie’s success.  The movie’s cast in general has plenty of acting chops under its belt.  But none of the cast members are major name stars.  Case in point: Dominic Colon.  Colon plays Diego’s friend, Junior, which is a small role.  Colon is known largely for his role of Manny Spamboni on PBS’ re-imagined take on the classic educational show, The Electric Company.  He has also had roles in the hit movies, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, August Rush, and We Own The Night just to name a few.  Keeping in mind that the cast is largely unknowns, they have collectively put on performances that play their own role in the overall success of the story.  This, along with the story’s other previously mentioned factors makes Trouble in the Heights a surprisingly interesting movie within the annals of recently released crime dramas/thrillers.  It turns out to be a movie that is deserving of at least one watch.  It is available in stores and online now.  It can be purchased online via Amazon at  A trailer for the movie can be viewed via YouTube at

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