Piñero (2002)

Piñero (2002)



Critic Consensus: Though Bratt is great in the title role, the biopic itself is messy and Piñero grows tiresome.

Piñero Photos

Movie Info

Miguel Piñero became a leading figure in New York's art scene during the 1970s as a poet, actor, and playwright whose vibrant, often pointed, work spoke directly to the lower classes and to disenfranchised minorities. As a founder of the influential Nuyorican Poets Cafe, his poetry soon became recognized as a forerunner to rap and hip-hop music. TV screenwriter turned director Leon Ichaso spins this impressionistic biographical look at this artist. Raised in an abusive family, Piñero (Benjamin Bratt) turns to streets for solace. Soon he is engaging in petty crime, drug dealing, and addiction. When he finds himself in Sing-Sing, he turns his experiences in prison into the play +Short Eyes, which eventually garners him seven Tony awards in 1974. Uncomfortable with his new fame, he clings to his girlfriend, Sugar (Talisa Soto), and his childhood buddy, Miguel Algarin (Giancarlo Esposito), who is a literature professor and who co-founded the Nuyorican Cafe. Though Piñero makes cameos on such shows as Kojak, his art begins to suffer as he starts to succumb to his drug addictions. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.
R (for drug use, strong language and sexuality)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:
Miramax Films

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Benjamin Bratt
as Miguel Pinero
Giancarlo Esposito
as Miguel Algarin
Talisa Soto
as Sugar
Nelson Vasquez
as Tito Goya
Michael Irby
as Reinaldo Povod
Rita Moreno
as Miguel's Mother
Jaime Sánchez
as Miguel's Father
Rome Neal
as Jake
Oscar Colon
as Bodega Man
Mandy Patinkin
as Joseph Papp
Oscar A. Colon
as Bodega Man
Miriam Cruz
as Bodega Woman
Luis Caballero
as Shooting Gallery Man
Sophia Domoulin
as Shooting Gallery Woman
Gilbert Collazo
as Miguel As Teen
Robert Klein
as Doctor
Gilbert Callazo
as Miguel (as a teen)
Samuel Bruce Campbell
as Short Eyes Cop
Eric Nieves
as Nuyorican
Antonia Rey
as Senora
Lisa Rhoden
as P.A. Woman
Valentina Quinn
as Interviewer
Bruno Iannone
as Port Authority Cop
Fisher Stevens
as Public Theatre Cashier
Jack A. O'Connell
as Chauffeur
Ray Santiago
as Willie
Charles Santy
as Lincoln
Ed Vassallo
as Tito Arrest Cop
Vanessa Del Sol
as Heist Woman
O.L. Duke
as Paul
Mateo Gomez
as Auditorium Man
Edward Vassallo
as Tito Arrest Cop
Amanda KC
as Barrio Bar Woman
Bill Boggs
as Lennon Anchorman
Tony Vazzo
as Auditorium Man 2
Charles Sammarco
as Strange Shower Guy
Lydia Trueheart
as Woman with Baby
John Ortiz
as Gang Member
Pedro Pietri
as Himself
Panchito Gomez
as Acting Inmate
Amiri Baraka
as Himself
Jamal Joseph
as Himself
Joanne Newborn
as Fur Woman #1
Miguel Algarin
as Himself
Tara Wilson
as Tito's Girlfriend
Joanna Newborn
as Fur Woman No. 1
Francine Berman
as Fur Woman No. 2
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Critic Reviews for Piñero

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (24)

Overlapping the artist's biography and his work, writer-director Leon Ichaso pointedly reflects the chaos in his subject's shortish life, but he links the artist's frustrations and talent in the usual manner: as cause and effect.

Full Review… | July 31, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A scattershot stab at a fascinating life and times.

Full Review… | July 31, 2007
Top Critic

Flashily but irritatingly shot, full of unmotivated switches from colour to b/w, sudden flashbacks, mannered slow mo and jump cuts, this is hardly a subtle evocation of its subject's life.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A vivid rendering of the complexities of the artist's soul, and a notable attempt to convey the trajectory of a volatile creative life.

July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Bratt's performance is as steady and consistent as the film is frustrating.

Full Review… | May 3, 2002
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

It's impressionistic and risks incoherence, but it works as a successful montage of the unruly life of a sensitive, talented, but conflicted man whose self-destructiveness it never tries to sugarcoat or deny.

March 22, 2002
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Piñero


**1/2 (out of four) Pinero was a poet who lived in New York. The troubled man's life was splattered with excessive drug and alcohol abuse. Benjamin Bratt stars as Pinero and he does a good job at showing the poet's torment and disinegration. But his performance is the highlight. The film never finds a cohereant narrative, losing its focus.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

The biopic's cinematic technique is supposed to be vibrant and alive and reflect Pinero's variegated lifestyle. Emphasis on the "supposed to be".

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

The grittiness and realistic look to the film just doesn't work. I can see what they were going for but the movie is quite simply a boring mess. It's disjointed and lacks a cohesive structure. Considering the fact the movie is a biography of a real person, it's amazing the filmmakers were so far off from capturing the character they apparently found interesting. Miguel Pinero isn't interesting or appealing here. You just don;t care.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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