The Magic Bomb is a minute-in-by-minute thriller filmed with a mostly Latinx cast and done on a zero dollar budget. It was some impressive work by filmmaker Randy Gordon-Gatica.
The Magic Bomb is an independent thriller, produced, written, and directed by Randy Gordon-Gatica. What was most striking was Gordon-Gatica's ability to produce a full feature film on a zero dollar budget. This Latinx thriller follows the story of a young Mexican-American man named Conrad Lopez (Jonathan Iglesias), who gets entangled in a plot to nuke Manhattan. On the day that Conrad is married, a mysterious packaged is placed on his doorstep. After Conrad finds the package, he receives a call from a stranger (actor Marcial Urena) demanding he delivers the package to Central Park in sixty minutes, or his wife, Clara (Nicole Palermo), will be murdered. The stranger reveals to him that the package is a bomb designed to wipe out New York City. After this confrontation, Gordon-Gatica then decides to take the storyline back to events leading up to the package. During this time, we see Conrad's former love, Lisa (Maria Jung), and their falling out together.
Lisa and Conrad are both "Dreamers" struggling to get by in life during Trump's America. Although The Magic Bomb was filmed two years ago, immigration and DACA are still very much a part of the conversation today. These are critical topics, especially DACA — an American policy that needs protection. These immigrants are Americans, and this is their home. There was a line in the film when Conrad talks about how New York has been all that he's ever known — a very natural commentary on real-life DACA recipients whose home has always been here, in America. Conrad also gets caught up with a sinister man named Gus (Kenny Nowell). Gus is a known racist and conspiracy theorist, babbling on about deep state plots and racial slurs. During this time, Conrad and his new girlfriend, Clara (Palermo), decide to trick Gus into stealing $250,000 from him. They come up with a plan to sell Gus on the premise that they possess a very powerful nuke called "The Magic Bomb." Due to Gus' anti-immigration views and twisted ideology, he accepts their offer of $250,000 in exchange for "The Magic Bomb." Actor Benjamin John Burbidge also plays a secretive man, whose identity I won't spoil — during the film, we see shots of him scattered throughout the city.
Another important aspect of The Magic Bomb was Gordon-Gatica's ability to have Latinx actors in leading roles. Doing so presents a spotlight on Latinx actors and the importance of why representation matters. At a time when it feels like there are multiple Latinx stories being either sidelined or canceled in both TV and film — having both Conrad and Lisa's narrative, front and center was a statement on its own. We see the firsthand struggles of what it's like being Latino in America and trying to get ahead in life. While all of this is being done, Gordon-Gatica takes crime and suspenseful genres and sandwiches them in-between this potent social commentary. Gordon-Gatica has a story that needs to be heard and seen. If Gordon-Gatica was able to produce a film this powerful, imagine what he could make on a full-scale budget. Independent films are vital to the natures of cinema and need our help and support on getting them out to the masses. The Magic Bomb has been submitted to multiple film festivals, including Queens World Film Festival and Las Cruces International Film Festival. Here, Gordon-Gatica's Latinx thriller won Best First Feature (Queens, 2018) and Audience Choice Award (Las Cruces, 2018). Will Conrad be able to stop the bomb from destroying New York City, while also saving the two most important women (Lisa and Clara) in his life? I'll let you find out for yourself. The Magic Bomb is available to rent on Vimeo on Demand. The Magic Bomb has tons of twists and turns, upheld by a talented cast and a cathartic musical score. I am incredibly excited to see more of Gordon-Gatica and his craft in the near future.
The Magic Bomb is not rated NR.
Directed by Randy Gordon-Gatica
Starring Jonathan Iglesias, Maria Jung, Nicole Palermo, Marcial Urena, Kenny Nowell, and Benjamin John Burbidge.
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