Cinema: Benjamin Bratt

PINERO

Just one year ago, Benjamin Bratt was playing an accessory on Julia Roberts' red-carpet tour. Now he's commanding his own spotlight with a revelatory performance in Pinero. In this sordid, vibrant and true story, Bratt stars as Miguel Pinero, the Puerto Rican playwright, unrehabilitated ex-con, junkie and cautionary figure. In 1988, 14 years after founding Manhattan's Nuyorican Poets Cafe and gathering acclaim for his Tony-nominated play Short Eyes, Pinero died of cirrhosis at age 41.

Bratt, 38, hits lovely, seductive notes in director Leon Ichaso's ragged symphony of self-destruction. His Pinero shouts savage poetry from rooftops, rages against the ravages of...

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