In 5th Street, street gangs are committing criminal activity all around Los Angeles, under the leadership of the ruthless Beto (Christian Monzon). Little do they know, or care, that the more people they murder, the more enemies they make. And these enemies come in the form of the victims' loved ones, who seek justice. The latest one of these is Joe Montoya (Eric Arthur Martinez, who also wrote the script), who loses his pregnant wife, Sarah (Anne Leighton)in a gang-related shootout that is initiated by Beto himself. Now Joe, motivated by his desire for revenge, puts into action a plan to take down Beto and his friends by recruiting others who all have the same thing in common with Joe: A desire for revenge.
The cast in this film, headed by Christian Monzon and Eric Arthur Martinez and Joe Voltierra as the police detective, is terrific all around. Yes, this plot has been told repeatedly in lots of films, but most of those revenge films that I've seen have been, as I call them, "vigilante action films." This one I can't really call it that, even though it still has some action. "5th Street" is much more of a "vigilante DRAMA." And that's what I found most interesting about it.
Instead of scene after scene involving car chases and shootouts and explosions, which is almost always seen in a Hollywood version of this type of movie, here in Eric Arthur Martinez's script for this film, we have scene after scene involving just about all of the characters, protagonists and antagonists, talking, thinking, reacting and having conversations. That's rarely seen in a Hollywood version of this type of film. And everyone gives good performances. The first time I watched it, there were moments where I thought things were going to happen one way, but then they happened a different way. There were some very effective twists here.
Now on to the direction and the cinematography. This film marks the feature directorial debut of Alex Meader, a very talented young filmmaker whose previous credits include several very visually and dramatically impressive short films. His style makes him just a true original. The ways he works with actors, camera, lighting and framing of shots is incredible.
Cinematographer Connor Hair's work on this film is a successful illustration of what every scene and the film as a whole are about. The lighting and colors used in each scene are wonderful and perfectly capture the mood of it, whether it is a dramatic scene, a suspenseful scene or a scene full of lightness.
Altogether, the work from everyone involved in the making of this film made it a fresh take on the "revenge thriller" sub-genre. Check it out!