By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

Jose Daniel Freixas’ feature directorial debut Vandal is a drama about the young leader Nick ‘Damage’ Cruz (Daniel Zovatto, Don’t Breathe) of an infamous graffiti crew in Miami who experiences love, loss, and the consequences of his actions as he comes of age, struggling to justify his obsession with illegal street graffiti. Director/producer Freixas co- wrote the script with Paul Taegel, Derek Mether, Andrew Bozalis, and Tony Gonzalez, who also serves as one of the Executive Producers. The story is engaging for fans of the art and the artist, as well as informative for anyone who is not familiar with the graffiti art and the artists. Zovatto turns in a good performance as Nick, portraying the artist and the realities of what the lifestyle may bring, both positive and negative. Otmara Marrero (“Connecting…”, “StartUp”) excels as she portrays Sofia ‘Silk’ Campos who is also an artist and Nick’s love interest. They have good chemistry on screen, but also their performance is great when it comes time that their relationship goes south. The very effective performance of Nick’s enemy is Beau Knapp (Southpaw) who stars as Sismik in this film. He is so good as portraying his character, a very low life creep that the audience can easily dislike. 

The film also stars Juan Pablo Raba (“Narcos”), Richard Schiff (“The Good Doctor”), and Frankie J. Alvarez (“Looking”), as well as Manolo Gonzalez Vergara. They all give good performances.  

“Graffiti has been a part of my life since I was 10 years old. I grew up through graffiti with so many highs and so many lows along the way. As a filmmaker it has been one of my earliest dreams to make a film that authentically depicts the lives of graffiti artists from the perspective of Miami and represent my Hispanic culture. I am eternally grateful to our cast and crew for bringing their energy, creativity, and talent to deliver what I believe is one of the greatest films about graffiti ever made. I am equally grateful to 1091 Pictures for believing in this film and helping spread the message and magic of graffiti and street art around the globe. We know Vandal is in great hands with the team at 1091 Pictures,” said Director Jose Daniel Freixas.

Greg Maurice, Director of Content Acquisition for 1091 Pictures stated that “VANDAL showcases an authentic and unique perspective of the graffiti world. Both The Godfather of LA graffiti, Kelly ‘Risk’ Gravall, and Atlanta graffiti legend, Dax Rudnak from the Dungeon Family, approved of the true experiences graffiti artists encounter through this film. Jay Dee’s selection of an inclusive, award-winning crew including Gregory Tripi, Caleb Heyman and Oscar-winning casting director, Yesi Ramirez, was the perfect combination to authentically highlight the world of graffiti, something most people see but know anything about.”

Upcoming projects for Daniel Zovatto is HBO Max’s “Station Eleven” and Otmara Marrero in the upcoming Netflix series “Florida Man.”

The film will be available to purchase or rent beginning November 16, 2021.

Source: 1091 Pictures

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