IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF ICON!
Sam is a teenager living the life any regular teen wants to live, with a new girlfriend and his groups of friends who like to party hard and avoid any type of social dramas. But Sam’s world takes a different turn when his girlfriend announces to him that she’s pregnant and still has to figure out what she wants to do, either have an abortion or having the child. In an attempt of fulfilling his girlfriend wishes, Sam embarks on a dangerous journey to obtain money, selling drugs on the streets while trying to reach out to his estranged father and discovering who he is and what his roots are.
Icon is making its world premiere at Cinequest this year and, unfortunately, is a film that doesn’t have much to deliver to its audience. Based on a true story, written and directed by Tony Ahedo, Icon absorbes everything we already know about this saturated young adult dramas landscape and it’s not able to sustain itself regarding the much needed freshness to the genre. Nonetheless, Parker Padgett‘s performance is heartwarming and shows how this young actor can be versatile in exploring the vulnerabilities of his character. But everything else dips into the already common elements of a teenage focused melodrama, not being able to show anything different from what we already saw in other films with the same basis. Icon also lacks structural substance as it relies entirely on Sam’s point of view and keeps neglecting the supporting characters in a disappointing way.
It is a narrow vision that instead of improving the film, becomes its worst enemy, making it sound and look egocentric and selfish. Sam is not the only one suffering with life’s inevitable cruelty and his girlfriend Ana is almost seen as a villain by not being sure what she wants to have in her life, feeding the audience with a sense that they must automatically sign on with Sam because he is the only one suffering here. This manipulation does not help Icon achieve the status it clearly wants and Ahedo ends up creating a film that doesn’t have enough substance to break through the many dramas that fit in this description.
By not giving supporting characters enough time and material to flourish, and only following Sam’s demise as if he is the only one suffering throughout the film, shows that this one-sided view of the facts is intended exclusively in victimizing a troubled teenager while nurturing that he is a hero of some kind for the options he made, and that everyone around him is blamable for his current situation. Ahedo’s vision lacks in humbleness and ultimately reduces his first long feature film to a straight-to-DVD piece that comes out as forgettable for not standing out by anything in particular. While Padgett’s performance is endearing, the script never quite makes justice to the world he’s in, villainizing the most important players in his life without a suitable explanation and falls into the melodrama that can’t be sustained by the cast performances only.
By not having enough artistic elements to stand out from the big crowd, Icon is an entertainment piece that feels too familiar and doesn’t have any particular new setup to show to the audience, becoming ordinary and a story like so many others we have watched during the past year.
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Original Title: Icon
Director: Tony Ahedo
Runtime: 100 min.