Review: Icebox is timely and has its heart, and anger, in the right place

Daniel Sawka’s film about a 12-year-old Honduran boy in a U.S. ICE detention facility feels calculated to appeal to mainstream viewers

ICEBOX (Daniel Sawka). 86 minutes. Premieres Friday (December 7) at 8 pm on HBO Canada also streaming on Crave+. Some subtitles. Rating: NNN

Movies don’t get any more timely than Daniel Sawka’s first feature, which follows 12-year-old Oscar (Anthony Gonzalez) as he journeys from Honduras to the U.S. in search of asylum, only to land in an ICE detention facility for minors, where he’s just one face among thousands in an indifferent, overburdened immigration system.

Gonzalez – who voiced the lead in Pixar’s Coco – is utterly convincing as the scared, confused young hero, and his performance carries the film over some of its more dramatically contrived moments.

James L. Brooks’s Gracie Films helped Sawka develop the project from a 2016 short, and this version definitely feels more calculated to play to mainstream America.

But its heart, like its anger, is in the right place.

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