Cinematographer Bridger Nielson treats every shot as a work of art; you've never seen East L.A. look this gorgeous before. Unfortunately, the actors also seem to have been cast for appearances only.
As for Olmos, he has achieved more than most could have with an often cliched screenplay ("Homies are getting killed every day. It's sad." "Those are our f***en homeboys back there. Why don't you show a little respect?").
With its recycled themes and muddled storyline generating a cascade of unanswered questions, the film is more about style than substance.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
There's some promise in the central idea, but any audience investment it could have generated is done in by the performances either awkward or downright amateurish.
| Original Score: 2/4
But the shot du jour (heard and seen daily in every corner of our deadly globe) comes from the bereft mother; her family’s vocational tradition skids to an awful conclusion.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
An explosive, nearly sociopathic perf by Tom Sizemore anchors tyro helmer Michael D. Olmos' Splinter
Sizemore's edgy, high-charged performance blasts through Splinter's aesthetic pretensions.