Every now and then I start watching a movie which grips me within the first fifteen seconds and does not let me go. The Take did that, and it did it in a harsh, crass, almost violent way. As I watched, I realized that every second was an experience, albeit one of shock and dread. If you are in the mood for a movie that invokes fear, anger and eventually gratefulness for your own simple, easy life, go and watch The Take.
Felix De La Pena (John Leguizamo ) is an armored truck driver who becomes the victim of an extremely violent and murderous hijacking by a group of East Los Angeles thugs. He is shot in the head and barely but miraculously survives, albeit with personality modifications due to brain injury.
Before the attack, he is a loving husband to his wife (Rosie Perez) and father of two children who is trying to make ends meet for his family. His wife, a nurse, understands his condition and assists in his recovery. But he knows the gangsters know where he lives and have threatened to hurt his family. When he realizes that the thugs have been trying to frame him for the deed, he is afraid for his and his family’s welfare, and he becomes a vigilante and starts fighting back.
The Take is an action thriller, in a way, but not a Hollywood-style one. Filmed with off-color filters, somewhat grainy, with a handheld and often shaky camera, the grit of East Los Angeles life seems to seep into our experience. The music, the grainy and jumpy images and the odd colors all contribute to drawing us into a world where our suburban rules no longer apply, where terrible things happen to good people and where hopelessness on a massive scale seems to have a hold on people. Felix is a good man who is trying to build a life in the hell around him, and hell is trying to get the best of him nonetheless.
Watching The Take is an experience.