“The Fast and the Furious” with wheelbarrows, Paraguayan action-thriller-romance hybrid “7 Boxes” is a rollicking good time at the movies that offers breathtaking action and suspense, humor and appealing characters all in one visually flashy package. Made by first-time feature directors Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori, “Boxes” is set in Municipal Market 4 in Asunción, an enormous maze of stalls and stores that covers almost eight blocks. Víctor (newcomer Celso Franco, going places) is a 17-year-old wheelbarrow transporter who tries to scrape by delivering goods bought at the market. A suspicious delivery of seven wooden crates (not boxes) with unspecified contents suddenly has him being followed by a thief, a rival transporter and his gang, the mobsters who own the merchandise, the police, a too-curious-for-her-own-good female friend, a Korean waiter (long story) and Víctor’s older sister, whose pregnant friend’s story ties perhaps a little too conveniently into the plot. Nonetheless, Maneglia, who wrote the intricately structured screenplay, excels in keeping the twists and turns coming while keeping all his narrative balls in the air. And the final payoff is a doozy. “City of God”-like, agile camerawork by commercials cinematographer Richard Careaga is smudgy yet breathtaking, and combined with a pumping score that mixes electronic music and local, traditional instruments it delivers, well, the goods. U.S. distributors should get onto this potential crowdpleaser ASAP. Criticwire grade: A [Boyd van Hoeij]
Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.