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A Father He Never Knew Reveals a Legacy of Corruption and Murder

Cast | DVD | Reviewing the DVD | Formats | Notes | Pictures | Quotes | Soundtrack | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Malcolm's Dialogue

Cast

Character Actor
Felipe Solano Malcolm McDowell
Philip Solano Esai Morales
Mariana Flores Valentina Vargas
Garrison Carver Michael Ironside
Oscar Hugo Tramón
Lorenzo Christian Svensson
Dona Chevella Chelita Bon
Jaime Zamorena  Josue De La Feunte
Marcos Zamorena  Cristian Michaelsen
Woman Teacher Crimanesa Jimenez
Man Teacher Claudio Osorio
Tall Heavy Horacio Videla
Patricia Solano Amaya Forch
Bald Amazon Carla Lobos
Blonde Amazon Thaia Gomez
Photographer Felipe Orrego
Rosa Rosa Ramirez
Short Heavy Sebastian Vila
Lawyer Aquiles Perez
Lawyer Rolando Schmauck

Written and Directed by James Becket 

DVD

No extras, just the trailer. 93 minutes, Stereo, Region 0 - PAL, Dolby Digital.
Released by ILC Film in the UK, but the disc plays anywhere. UPC 5 034741 207119

Scene Index
1 Opening Titles
2 Chile
3 Finding Out
4 Night Fever
5 On the Run
6 Trust
7 Disappear
8 End Credits

Reviewing the DVD

No remastered sound, full frame and nothing extra equals a big waste. Only eight chapter stops and the trailer is what you usually expect from a generic public domain release. If you watch the trailer it will totally give away the movie. This is a good thing. You can watch the trailer, see a bunch of Malcolm's scenes and not waste 90 minutes watching the whole film to only see him for less that 10 minutes. This is the only way to go.

Sound 6
Picture 4 (Full Frame)
Extras 0
Overall Rating 2.5

Formats

VHS - NTSC / DVD R0 (UK)

Notes

I first reported about this film in late 1997 when someone who worked on it in Santiago, Chile emailed me about it. That was cool to because it was my first movie scoop after starting the site. Little did I know it would be almost 4 years before I would see it. The film was ready in 1998, but it looks like there were no takers and was released directly to video in 1999 and by 2000 it was out of print. Though it is somewhat rare, it is by no means valuable because it is so bad. I was able to pick it up on VHS for $5 at a flea market, I know I overpaid, but saved on shipping. 

Pictures

Memorabilia
DVD Cover - Front

DVD Cover - Back
Video Box Front Cover

Video Box Back Cover w/Malcolm

Quotes

 Malcolm McDowell from my interview with him 8/11/07

A: (Makes a horrified face) Oh, my god! What a film that was. I only did a week and they paid me 200 grand, so what did I care? I had to fly to Chile to pick that check up.

Q: Michael Ironside was also in it. What cracked me up was you were supposed to be Spanish.

A: Michael Ironside was in that? That's right...yeah supposed to be aristocratic of course. I remember literally having the car engine running when they did the last shot. I jumped in the car, threw the costume off and said take me to the airport. They said, 'Don't you want to see Chile?' I went, 'No!' I didn't have one good meal in that country, it was hideous. Kelley and I were so thrilled because in Santiago we actually found a Friday's restaurant and thought we can't believe how lucky we were. We could actually have a salad without getting diarrhea or something. We thought there's got to be something wrong with this, let's get the hell out of here. It was a weird one that one.

Soundtrack

Released on CD

1. The Mine
2. I Have a Sister?
3. Chacabuco
4. I'm Goin' to Chile (dialogue)
5. Chile Theme
6. Rosa's Last Dance
7. The Train
8. Love on the Beach
9. Valparaiso Chase
10. One Lie After Another (dialogue)
11. Death of Lorenzo
12. Up the Funicular
13. Miner's Bar ("Internationale")
14. Variations on Felipe's Theme
15. Barca de Oro (Trad.)
16. Reunion (dialogue)
17. Solano Suite
18. Pinball (dialogue)
19. Mephisto Waltz (Franz Listz)

Summary - Official

Malcolm McDowell stars in this fast paced action thriller set in the beautiful surroundings of South America. Felipe Solano (Malcolm McDowell) is the wealthy mine owner whose mysterious death uncovers a story of death, collusion and deception. His estranged son Philip Bergman (Esai Morales) becomes drawn into the mystery by the exotic and beautiful Mariana Flores (Valentina Vargas) who informs him of his potential inheritance in his father's company.
    While attending his father's funeral in Chile, Philip uncovers the secrets of Felipe's past and battles with his father's former partner, Garrison Carver (Michael Ironside), for the controlling share of the company.
    The ensuing struggle takes Philip and Mariana on a roller coaster across Chile, encountering danger at every turn. Will Philip uncover the truth behind his father's death and will he fulfill his romantic destiny with the beautiful Mariana?

My Summary

     The story opens at a mine in Chile. A car comes up to the gate with Felipe Solano who runs the mine with his partner Garrison Carver. There is a strike going on when he arrives and the workers try to block him and throw stuff at the car. The mine has been closed for being too dangerous and he is there to reopen it himself to prove it is safe. He greats the only woman there, Mariana and the men. They go down with men and equipment and after a minute there is a gas line explosion that causes a cave-in and Felipe and all of his men are killed.
     A week later in Boston, Felipe's son Philip, is a classically trained pianist who is at an audition for the Boston Philharmonic.  This is all he ever wanted, but his cocky disregard for the rules almost makes his first audition his last. One of the judges cuts him a break because he is so talented. He heads home and is the intended victim of a drive-by shooting, but is able to hit the dirt and the attacker speeds off thinking he was killed.
     He returns to his apartment, which he is trying to get rid of so he can move. So when Mariana shows up he thinks she is there to see the place. She informs him that his rich father has died and he and his sister will split the estate.  She is a lawyer and tells him if he signs the papers she'll take care of all the details back in Chile, she'll get 40% and he'll walk away with $6 million. His father had no will and under Chilean law he collects everything since he is the only son. 
    He was raised by his mother and he never knew his father. He is triply shocked, 1-because his father died before he could ever meet him, 2-he has a sister and 3-he's going to be rich. He wants nothing of signing off and tells her he is going with her to Chile to meet his sister. She knows that is not wise, but cannot convince him otherwise.
     They head to Chile together and they just arrive for the funeral as it is taking place. There are people there who are not happy to see him alive, most of all the drive-by shooter. She tells him who everyone is.
    Right after the funeral a judge is hearing the case of Felipe's will and is proceeding to divide everything up and Carver thinks he is set to get the bulk of it as a partner. Philip and Mariana barge and and she explains that the money should go to Philip because he is the rightful heir. Now this will tie up everything for weeks. He goes over to meet his sister, but her husband Lorenzo is quite pissed off at him and storms out with her. Carver instead tries the suck up approach to win him over.
    Philip goes to Carver's place. It is completely empty except for a pinball machine. He tells him all he wanted when he was a kid was to play that pinball game and when he was older he bought it. The creditors have taken everything and in fact the place is all empty and the pinball game is all he owns because he would never let them take it. Carver tells him he'll give him $100 a point if he plays the pinball game and $100,000 for his share of the company no matter what.  He winds up cutting him a $400,000 check and a plane ticket home. Philip is content to walk away, believing the lies he has been told. 
    On his way out Mariana is waiting for him, but Lorenzo has people grab him and throw him into his limo.  Lorenzo tries to intimidate Philip into signing his share away for a quick settlement and Philip tricks him into thinking he agrees. He signs the papers and they throw him out of the car.
    He calls Mariana tells her what happened and she tells him he has been tricked and if he lets the mine fall into the wrong hands the town will be devastated. He doesn't care. She also tells him that his fathers death probably wasn't an accident. Now he changes his mind. 
    He goes through his fathers papers and finds out some tough truths. His father had at least $6 million in Swiss bank accounts and that his father loved him and was a musician like him and in fact paid for his whole education. He finds letters revealing that it was his mother that had kept him away his whole life and later said he was dead. He thought his father never loved him and was wrong about everything.
      Carver goes to the Lorenzo to tell him Philip hasn't left the country.  Lorenzo is corrupt and was the one who put a hit on him so his wife (and he) could claim all the money and the mine.  Carver is also in on the whole deal and he checks the paper that Philip signed and tells him he didn't sign his name, but instead wrote "Fuck you Lorenzo." Now they know he isn't going to be bought off and is truly a Solano.
     The closer Philip gets to the truth the more trouble he causes for Lorenzo. He goes to the town newspaper to find out about the mine. Dona, the lady in charge says the mine is the life blood of the town and it must be reopened. If he can do this it will save the town. There is another accident at the mine and another leading worker is killed. Philip has a chart of all the workers involved in the accident that killed his father and crosses him off. We can see many people have died recently. Meanwhile a man with a crossbow is also after the Lorenzo.
    Dona tells him the town will love him if he can save the mine. She decides to put him on the front page of the paper to help him along. Patricia decides she wants to see her brother, but Carver says it isn't a good idea. Then Lorenzo speeds up and is raging at Carver because he thinks Carver wanted him dead and it was his men who shot at him. Carver tells him he is insane and Lorenzo asks him who would want him dead then? Carver tells him at least a dozen husbands in town. This is the first time Patricia hears he has been cheating on her and she storms off.
    Philip looks at photos and finds out  that two brothers, Roberto and Marcos San Mareina, were listed as dead are still alive as he found a picture of them after the disaster. He heads out to find them and Lorenzo gets word on where he is. Two of Lorenzo's men jump him and beat him up while he walks alone at night. Before they can execute him he escapes into runs into a nearby communist bar. He tries to tell the men in the club there are bandits after him, but they don't care. They know he is a Solano and one of the biggest men wants to kick his ass as well. There is a band playing on stage and he gets up and plays the Russian national anthem on the piano and then makes it jazzy and they love it. Thoughts of kicking his ass are forgotten. They finish the song and Philip spots Mariana talking to people in the back of the club. He goes over to talk to her and finds out she lives in the town and the big guy who wanted to kick is ass is Oscar, Mariana's uncle. Philip tells her that he has found one of the men are still alive. Oscar used to work for Philip's father and hated him, but now he is unemployed. He points Philip to the wife of one of the brothers who is in the club. He talks to her, but she hasn't seen him. Then Oscar and Jose who is very drunk come over and insist Philip drink with him.
    The next day Philip awakes hung over and there is a woman in bed with him. He doesn't remember anything. He gets up and finds a note shoved under the door. It is from Mariana and she says his father would be proud of him, she'll contact him when it is all settled and there is a plane ticket back to Boston so he will be safe. He decides he better head out to the airport.  Seconds later two of Lorenzo's goons break in the room to kill him, but he has left. Instead they kill the girl to pin the blame on him. 
    He gets to the airport and finds Mariana was headed onto a plane to Chackabooku. He tells her if she won't work together with him he will turn his share over to his sister and Lorenzo will get control. She relents and allows her to come with him. She was going there to meet Roberto the man that Philip found alive. In the car on the way over she gives him a gun and asks if he knows how to use it.
    Chackabooku is an abandoned mining town. When they arrive they find only four men with guns and Roberto who is already dead.  A shootout ensues and they have to fight for their lives and soon after a truck blocks their car - it is Lorenzo and backup. They realize they can't win and instead choose to flee into the burning desert.
    They travel through the wasteland and eventually spot a huge industrial train in the distance and run for it. Lorenzo's men figure out what has happened and are not far behind. Philip gets Mariana to try and stop the train to let them on, but of course it won't. She winds up on the opposite side of the train and Philip sees Lorenzo's men coming by truck. He thinks about shooting them, but realizes Mariana is out of sight and must be on the train. The locomotive is only pulling four flat cars and a boxcar filled with Mexicans who have snuck on the train themselves. They help her aboard and he gets his gun ready and jumps in the other side. Lorenzo's men jump the tracks in their truck and pull up next to the car and start firing. Philip and Mariana start firing back and one of them hits the driver which sends the truck into a dune.
    They travel on into the day and when the train stops at the next station Lorenzo's men are waiting for them. Philip and Mariana have borrowed some of the natives clothes and have jumped out early on the other side of the station so the men don't see them.
    They wind up in a port town and she calls a friend for help and then they see a newspaper with the headline of "Solano Heir Murders Town Whore." Now they are fugitives and must get out of town fast. They can't go by boat or car because the police know they were on the train and have set up roadblocks every 25 miles. They decide to stick together and steal a motorcycle and speed off to Marcos' place. Eventually they see a roadblock in the distance and he takes it off road saying they should only travel at night. 
    Eventually  they find a secluded place to spend the night on the beach. They lay together to get some rest. Even though they seem to have a love/hate relationship, he tries for some loving. She doesn't want to because she has something to tell him, but then decides she can't and just rolls over on him. He decides he needs to take a cold swim then.
    Patricia is doing a horse show and Lorenzo is taking pictures. Carver tells him the fugitives are heading for Marcos' place and now they have them. Carver tells him to get going and finish the job.
    Philip and Mariana arrive at Marcos' place. There is no one there, but they hear a noise. They find a tub with blood in it and then hear Marcos running out the door. They split up and give chase. Philip loses sight of him and while resting he sees Mariana speaking to Marcos down below. They meet up back at the house and Mariana says she lost him and didn't see him at all. Philip confronts her. He thinks she has lied about everything and probably had a hand in his father's murder. She tries to explain it was all to keep him safe when Lorenzo appears behind them with a gun drawn. He says he cannot kill him though, he warned him to leave Chile. He turns away and goes to the window and someone from the outside shoots him. Lorenzo admits killing Philip's father before he dies. More shots are fired and Mariana tells them they have to leave and there is a car waiting, but Philip doesn't trust her.
    He relents and they take off on the motorcycle with the two killers in close pursuit in a car. Philip drives the bike down a small dirt alley they can't fit in and loses them. They go in a building and then take a ski car that brings them up a mountain. The two men pull up and chase after them taking the steps to get to the car. They overtake the car only to find it empty and see Philip and Mariana far down below running away over a small bridge. They get to the waiting truck and Philip wants to know the truth, but she tells him that he will know soon.
    The driver takes them to Philip's father's summer house. She goes around back and lets him in. The house is completely in tact and everything is still inside. He hears a piano being played and finds out what his secret was. His father is alive and is also the man with the crossbow. He has faked his own death to weed out all the traitors around him. He thought it was the miners who were after him, but now he knows it is Carver and that it isn't safe. Philip is happy and upset at his father for abandoning him, before they can compare notes his father says they must leave because it isn't safe.
    Carver is trying to make a deal to sell ancient architecture to the Japanese for scrap when he learns what Philip is up to. They are trying to cross the border to Argentina.
    Philip wants to head back to when they have the board meeting about the mine with his father. His father wants nothing to do with it and thinks they'll be killed if they do. Mariana wants to go as well, but Felipe says no and he heads off telling them he'll give them 24 hours to join him.
    Philip goes to sleep and Mariana wakes him. Now she is ready for love. They have sex and fall asleep together.
    The next day they wake up only to find Carver sitting there waiting for them. He asks them to decide what kind of end they want. One where the police find their bodies, or one where they are never found - they just disappear. Carver tells his thugs to take care of it and heads out to the board meeting.
    The two men decide to throw them off an old wooden bridge high above a river. Philip says why not just kill them. One man tells him to shut up and before he can grant his wish, Felipe shoots the man holding Mariana with his crossbow. This gives Philip a chance to knock the gun out of his thugs' hand and for Mariana to attack the other man. Philip goes down with him and Mariana runs out onto the bridge. She steps on a board and it cracks and when the man chasing her grabs her they both fall through and are hanging on for dear life. Philips' man overtakes him and puts the gun in his face and fires, but it is dry. The man is upset and it gives Philip the chance to grab him and throw him off the bridge. At the same time Mariana kicks the arrow deeper into the man's chest who is hanging with her before he can pull himself up. He too falls to his death. Felipe comes over to them and he too falls through. He is hanging on for dear life and is ready to die, but Philip won't have it and pulls him back. 
    The the board meeting is going on with Carver at the helm as he is planning to sell the mine and shut it down. He asks for a moment of silence for all the recent deaths and Felipe walks right in to everyone's surprise. He whispers something in Carvers' ear and he leaves.  Once the workers find out they storm Carver and rip him to pieces. Everyone is reunited and happy again and the workers go back to work in the mine. The End.

My Review

     If you are thinking that this is a religious film because of the title, you would be dead wrong. The cross is supposedly the double crossing going on, but who cares? When a movie starts out with Malcolm right away that is a good thing. When he dies a minute and a half later, that is a bad thing. I had a feeling it might be a setup so I stuck it out. I am sorry I did. I want to make myself perfectly clear, this film sucks. The story sucks, the acting sucks, the plot sucks and there is just nothing good about it. The plot is as thin as tracing paper as you know what is going to happen 10 minutes before it does.
     The start of the story with Philip is totally ridiculous. Right after he is almost gunned down he goes home and begins to undress. Does he lock the door? Does he even bother to CLOSE it? No!?! Not a care at all that they might come back to finish the job. He has music blasting so Mariana walks right in him and sees his ass. Tired jokes follow since he thinks she wants to rent the place. "Want me to show you the bedroom?" That kind of crap. You know they'll have a sex scene before the movie is over. The fact that they have the funeral almost two weeks later is also stupid. Not to mention it is going on as soon as Philip gets there and he literally exits the car and walks over as it is happening. The shootout at the mining town was pitiful and their escape was laughable. Like they wouldn't be seen running into the middle of nowhere. It is beyond convenient that there is a train coming so they could make their escape. Even more of a joke is the last car on the tiniest train ever is an empty boxcar that they can easily hide inside. Also since when does an industrial train stop at a train station to unload illegal passengers!?!
     Michael Ironside poorly plays Malcolm's evil partner. There isn't much to say about him except he might have the best roll in the film and that is pretty sad. Esai and Valentina have as much chemistry as two penguins, there is nothing sexual or erotic about them. Their sex scene was even poorly shot and totally limp. A body part her, him on top there, her on top here. Hardly any nudity and so poorly scripted as to be completely un erotic.  The "surprise" that the father was dead was weak and unoriginal and their reunion was a joke.
     Malcolm is barely in this film leading me to believe his scenes were shot in a couple of days and he was out of there. He is in the first 90 seconds and the last 15 minutes sporadically. I have to say this is easily the worst roll he has ever played. Granted it was small, but he adds nothing to it. He doesn't even show any emotion upon seeing his son after 30 years.  I have seen him so much better in roles as small. He didn't seem to be having any fun or that he really tried to do much of anything with it. The worst part is he plays a Chilean man!??! He is supposed to be Spanish, but talks like the regular old English gent! Laughable. His "You go on without me" scene was trite and insulting. What was he thinking? I hope everyone at least earned some good money to make this piece of garbage. There shouldn't be anyone who could possibly like this film, no matter who you are a fan off. I give .5 for Malcolm trying to bring something to the film at the end, but it was too little too late.

Rating 0.5/10

Malcolm's Dialogue + Screenshots

Since Felipe doesn't have many lines I transcribed them all.

Felipe arriving at the mine
Arriving at the mine:
"Of course it's safe. We have to get these men back to work."
Carver: "You're crazy"
Felipe in the mine shaft
"That's right, but I was born a Solano. Not my choice, friend. Buenos dias. Hola Marko!"

Felipe at the piano
Reuniting with Philip:
"Welcome Felipe. Oh god you've got your mother's looks. Thank god for that (laughs). Thank you and I know that you play too. I just wish I had a little more time to work on it. You were supposed to be safe in the states. The great thing about being dead is that you have to let go of the past. Can you do that? There aren't too many of those. Carver. It was not the miners, it was Carver. It was crucial that no one knew. We must hurry, the border is 12 kilometers from here. It should be a good hike with the full moon. What kind of shoes do you have? Maybe for the miners, but not for Carver. We're not safe here in Chile, besides my son is wanted for murder and killing me has no consequences. I'm dead already."

Felipe packed and ready to head out
Leaving:
"Call me whatever feels good you. We'll never make it to that meeting alive. You're never gonna lose me again. You know it really is a curse being born rich and a Solano. You will be when I'm dead, hmm. See if you can talk some sense into my son, he wants to go to Caloda in a family plot. Has everybody gone crazy around here? I can't let you go, I made a promise to your father. Look, you have the right to be complete fools, but not dead fools. When you two have come to your senses I'll be at the German Inn in Mendoza. I'll wait for 24 hours." 

Felipe firing a crossbow
Feilpe hanging on for dear life
At the bridge:
"Hello there. Hola. Ahhhhhh. I can't hold on. Don't...you'll fall too. God you are stubborn. Ahh, I'm slipping."

Solano family reunion
At the end:
"Firstly I want to thank everyone for their heartfelt condolences. Your flowers were particularly beautiful. (Whispers to Carver)."

Pictures © 1998 Two Left Shoes/ILC
This page © 2001-08 Alex D Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net