TIFF review: Icebox

Daniel Sawka's timely first film about a 12-year-old boy Honduran boy who journeys to the U.S. and ends up in an ICE detention facility has its heart, and its anger, in the right place


ICEBOX DISC D: Daniel Sawka. U.S. 86 min. Sep 9, 1:15 pm, Scotiabank 14 Sep 11, 4:45 pm, Scotiabank 14 Sep 15, 3:45 pm, Scotiabank 10. See listing. Rating: NNN


Movies don’t get any more timely than 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. But its heart, like its anger, is in the right place.

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