Reefa is one of those movies that seems to become more topical by the day. Based on a true story, the film follows the 18 year titular Colombian immigrant. As he and his family wait for their Green Cards, Israel “Reefa” Hernandez Jr. plans for his future. He is a graffiti artist who is on his way to school in New York. An encounter with a Miami police officer ends in typical tragic fashion.
Following yet another shooting in Minnesota, it becomes increasingly difficult to watch certain types of movies. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the film. Stories like Reefa just should not be as relatable as they are. Part of what cinema does is point a mirror at society, but these types of reality should not be seen as much as they are.
Escapism is one of the primary reasons audiences watch movies. There were always films that put society’s issues on display, but there was also a sense that we as a people were learning and getting better. The truth was sometimes ugly, but there was a point to it. It was possible to get away from the awfulness of the world and then come back see change.
Reefa has strong performances and an even stronger message. It is an important film that puts a spotlight on a huge issue. The story has a charm that showcases youth and family. It tends to stray into overwrought drama a little too often, but it is a fine watch. It should give viewers the opportunity to reflect on the outside world while stepping away from it.
The problem is there is always an inescapable sense of dread. This is not a fictional tragedy about a young prodigy cut down before his time. It is the true story of a boy killed by a police officer. It is as if it is reporting about just another day in which there will be a longer string of them. Reefa is a poignant movie that will resonate with viewers.
Reefa is available on demand
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