The Take

Music-video director Brad Furman's thriller/police procedural/psychological drama parses a brutal crime and its aftermath from the perspective of the police, the criminals and the victim who must reconstruct his life after being shot and left for dead. Cocky but likable family man Felix de la Pena (John Leguizamo) lives in L.A.'s Boyle Heights with his...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Music-video director Brad Furman's thriller/police procedural/psychological drama parses a brutal crime and its aftermath from the perspective of the police, the criminals and the victim who must reconstruct his life after being shot and left for dead.

Cocky but likable family man Felix de la Pena (John Leguizamo) lives in L.A.'s Boyle Heights with his wife, Marina (Rosie Perez), a nurse, and their two children. He has the usual family stresses -- money worries and his teenaged daughter's (Jessica Steinbaum-Lopez) new boyfriend, a jail-bound gangbanger like his brother -- and a solid, if less-than-lucrative job with payroll transport company Gage Security, where he's liked and trusted by his boss and coworkers. In all, an ordinary lower-middle-class life, until the Friday Felix and his longtime partner, Marco (You Vazquez), make their weekly stop for oyster ceviche to go. As Felix waits in the truck, a man -- Adell (Tyrese Gibson) -- climbs in and puts a gun to his head. If Felix follow directions, things will be fine, Adell says; if he doesn't, his family will pay. When the robbery is over, two of Felix's coworkers are dead, and Felix has miraculously survived a bullet to the brain, though not without damage that limits his memory and leaves him frustrated and prone to fits of rage. FBI agent Perelli (Bobby Cannavale) believes Felix was simply a victim, but higher-ups like the theory that he was an inside man and pressure Purcell to arrest Felix and clear the case. Meanwhile, Felix's temper drives his family away and makes him look guilty as hell. Once he realizes he's a suspect, Felix takes the risky step of doing some investigating of his own, just as the ruthless Adell begins eliminating witnesses, including members of his own gang.

Produced on a modest budget, Furman's first feature juggles its disparate elements with considerable skill and the help of a strong cast: Leguizamo and Perez vividly convey the stress Felix's unpredictable injuries put on his closest relationships, while Cannavale is thoroughly believable as a sympathetic investigator trying to keep an open mind in the face of bureaucratic pressure to get an ugly little case off the books. (In English and subtitled Spanish)

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  • Released: 2008
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Music-video director Brad Furman's thriller/police procedural/psychological drama parses a brutal crime and its aftermath from the perspective of the police, the criminals and the victim who must reconstruct his life after being shot and left for dead.… (more)

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