First-time director Eric Eason's assured debut feature is a gritty urban drama shot on a shaky handheld DV camera for $25,000.
| Original Score: A-
The film shows a capsule of American urban life where few outside the community venture in. Eason hands out an invitation to do so. Accept it willingly.
| Original Score: 3/4
The digital camera itself becomes a major character because it gives any director with unique connections access to previously unfilmable subjects
| Original Score: B-
The movie barrels painfully through increasing misfortunes ... leaving filmgoers to walk out with the rawest of reactions.
Ragged but intense, this compassionate little movie is stocked with enough skillful touches and sensitive moments to stir interest in Eason's future work.
A mangy little movie that winds up -- surprise! surprise! -- leaving you genuinely moved and sadly bewildered.
A low-budget wonder.
A remarkably assured feature debut, Eric Eason's raw, intimate movie deftly captures the kinetic energy of its Washington Heights setting.
A compelling slice-of-life narrative that draws much of its strength from its non-professional actors.
| Original Score: 7/10
What Manito delivers that its cable TV cousins rarely seem interested in exploring are the tiniest details of the real urban 'hood where its stories take place.
A solid, touching effort.
| Original Score: B+
Eason has crafted a small, independent film that has an outsized impact.
| Original Score: 3/4
Where do the actors come from, who can walk into their first picture and act with such effortless effect?
| Original Score: 3.5/4
[Eason] has a quick-moving, incisive eye that captures little details of gesture and décor ... and also an ear finely tuned to the nuances of talk.
| Original Score: 4/5
Manito packs a visceral punch; it grabs hold and doesn't let go.
Eason balances the clichés of a fairly standard story with convincing realism and a powerful momentum that never flags.
| Original Score: 3/5
A small film with a big impact.
Eason has made a film about family tragedy that sings along on an electrical pulse of energetic editing, convincing naturalism and a confident sense of turf.
Flaunts all of its potential liabilities -- microscopic budget, first-time director, unknown cast, downbeat story -- and, one by one, transforms them into soaring triumphs.
Eric Eason's assured debut succeeds in the way Larry Clark's Kids succeeded -- through a feel for the rhythms of street life, and some extraordinary casting.