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  • Summary: Cruz Montoya rushes home to his dying father, a reclusive former school teacher still leading a traditional life in their once bucolic mountain valley, now ravaged by poverty, drug abuse, and violence. After years away, Cruz quickly begins to retreat into his troubled former life, managing aCruz Montoya rushes home to his dying father, a reclusive former school teacher still leading a traditional life in their once bucolic mountain valley, now ravaged by poverty, drug abuse, and violence. After years away, Cruz quickly begins to retreat into his troubled former life, managing a Santa Fe hip-hop club owned by a local crime boss, Emilio, who Senior used to run with back in the day. Seduced by the fast action and easy money, Cruz loses his poetic voice, his identity, and almost his life, before he finds a way to heal his relationships with his family, his community, and himself. (Variance Films)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Strongly acted and beautifully photographed (by Virgil Mirano), Spoken Word is a quietly resonant family drama about the tug of old habits and the difficulties of escaping the past.
  2. Filmmaker Victor Nunez pairs evocative locales--beatnik Bay Area, bucolic rural New Mexico--with fleeting asides of poetry (penned by the Santa Fe–based writer Joe Ray Sandoval); these meditative detours both elevate a routine story arc and tap into tangled, twisted familial roots.
  3. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    80
    Spoken Word benefits from an improbably perfect storm of production circumstances: The muscular, balanced script, the brainchild of an unusual alliance between professional poet Joe Ray Sandoval and TV writer William T. Conway, consistently plays to Nunez's strengths.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    50
    Though crudely constructed (the lighting and framing are strictly soap opera), unevenly acted (Becker is a bundle of distracting tics), and bluntly scripted, the film does have an honest integrity--at least whenever Blades is onscreen.
  5. Spoken Word, which centers on the tense reunion between a recovering addict poet and his dying father, features more cliches than it can comfortably handle and is not helped by its grindingly slow pacing.
  6. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    42
    Apart from its title, there's very little poetic about Spoken Word.
  7. With the patiently assembled '90s films "Ruby in Paradise" and "Ulee's Gold," director Victor Nuñez gave independent film a quiet luster of hand-craftsmanship sorely lacking in his dreary new effort, Spoken Word.

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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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