Beneath the Rock: A Cinematic Cautionary Tale

This film ‘Beneath the Rock’ tells an urban tale that makes it’s a must-see movie for anyone who is looking for inspiration and entertainment at the same time. The Opening scene and the street sign give away the location, to those people who are familiar with the neighborhood, in the borough of Brooklyn, NY.

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The film establishes the Status quo for the local police brass, Captain Sammy, who dictates instructions to their willing workforce and the residents who frequent the underground casino. Johnny works as the surveillance technician from Carmen’s apartment and his friends work as the look-outs from roof tops. Johnny and Cherry, his little sister, live with their grandmother on the block. She is very loving and devoted to her grandchildren. After the disappearance of Cherry in the neighborhood, life begins to change for Johnny and his grandmother. There is a shift in attitudes in the community. One of Johnny’s buddies tells him what he witnesses from the roof top. Johnny’s grandmother needs answers and he decides to challenge those responsible for the truth about his sister’s disappearance. His action lands him in the morgue from a subsequent beating and left for dead in a freezer.

Through a strike of divine intervention, Johnny thaws out on one of the slabs in the morgue. The quick-thinking assistant medical examiner assists him to escape without incident not before he contacts his girlfriend and he begs her to secure a hideout for him in their area. She recalls a place to him on her cell phone where her grandmother knows about that was not common knowledge to most residents in the vicinity. In the mean time, Johnny’s grandmother sets up her candles and she begins to pray in her apartment. The police brass continues with its criminal activities, and Johnny’s friends conduct surveillance from the roof top as their job description for their employer.

Johnny observes the goings-on of the casino’s activities from his hiding place, and he sees a vault full of money as it is opened. The police brass talks about the elimination of the club owner in the district on a trip to the beach. Johnny, his friends, and his grandmother meet and discuss strategies to find Cherry’s body and the bringing down the criminal enterprise of the local police brass. It’s almost déjà vu for Johnny since his father had a similar experience over a decade ago and the conception of his sister. Johnny takes the money out of the vault with the help of his friends manipulating the positions of the cameras on the roof tops. His action puts Captain Sammy against members of his criminal activity, mainly Jimmy; and this creates hostility among them that widens outside of the neighbor as Johnny trails them to find his sister’s remains. He calls the assistant medical examiner from the site to advise her where to find his sister’s body.

Captain Sammy finds Johnny on the property where his sister’s body is buried, and he and his coconspirators take hold of Johnny. Jimmy wants to save Johnny and the stolen money becomes the bargaining chip for their freedom. During the turmoil, a few on foreseen things happen and Captain Sammy and his cohorts manage to commit another crime, but the writing was on the wall for their reign of criminal activity on the block. Johnny and his grandmother find closure after the finding of Cherry’s autopsy, and some of the residents’ behaviors continue as usual from years of conditioning by the local police brass.

This film sends a clear message that members in a community do not have to confirm to the status quo to advance the cause of others. It always takes a tragedy to get people out of their comfort zone to confront what is wrong. In many instances, it is like déjà vu all over again because history has a way of repeating itself if one doesn’t guard himself or herself against injustices while doing nothing.