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Review: ‘Prescience’ muddles journey of self-discovery for a gay Latinx man

A bare-chested René Mena in the movie “Prescience.”
René Mena in “Prescience.”
(Indican Pictures)

Even if genuinely pursing diverse representation, James Helsing’s trite “Prescience” only warrants notoriety for turning a baffling screenplay into a poorly acted melodrama via a misused cast composed of rising talents and respected veterans such as Oscar-nominee Eric Roberts.

El Salvadoran actor René Mena, seen often in major studio fare and who serves as co-writer on this production, despite lacking subtlety in his rendition, defies stereotypes as attorney Isaac Smith, adopted by a white family as a child alongside his sister, Emily (Vannessa Vasquez). Unwilling to accept his sexual orientation, Isaac must grapple with the desires that his new roommate Mark (a decent Mike C. Manning) has awakened.

Cringe-worthy lines of dialogue share the movie’s soundscape with an overbearing score as the ensemble trots through woefully uninspired flashbacks and erotic dream sequences. An upbringing stained by his parents’ deportation and sexual abuse further complicates the meek lead’s self-discovery. Fortunately, as a point in the movie’s favor, the filmmakers don’t correlate homosexuality with trauma.

Awfully bewildering till the end, a final bombshell catapults the persistently nonsensical plot onto a level of implausibility that defies basic logic and ethics.

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Latinx creators getting access to hone their audiovisual storytelling skills should always strike as a positive — and there are many of them below the line here — though content so crudely crafted almost qualifies as a setback.

‘Prescience’
Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Hollywood


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