Cesar De Leon’s Salud is a heartbreakingly honest depiction of alcohol abuse and its ripple effects within a family.
Carlos (De Leon) is a man who has what most dream of: a family, friends and a career. But for all he has, he’s unable to kick the bottle and is forced to watch as everything around him slowly falls away until he ultimately finds himself homeless and alone.
As his addiction continues to spiral out of control, Carlos is forced to give up visitation with his seven-year old son Junito (Reymond Wittmann), which proves to be the tipping point. With the rock gone from his life, Carlos’ consumption grows until a visit to the doctor indicates that his lifestyle might have finally caught up with him.
De Leon was not only the star of the film; he also served as director and writer. De Leon gives us an honest depiction of how addiction can tear apart the mightiest of men and leave the fragmented shadows of their former selves
The film explores the peaks and valleys of addiction and recovery, opting not to gloss over the ugliness, but rather let it jump in your face and scream. De Leon’s acting in these situations is top notch. He captures the movements perfectly and the loneliness he projects in the depth of addiction is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Wittmann’s performance is well beyond his years as Junito. Watching a seven-year old scouring his father’s apartment in search of liquor bottles, curled up crying in his mother’s arms and chasing an image of his father is heartwrenching.
The film has a few scenes that linger too long, but overall De Leon’s Salud is haunting and delivers a very accurate portrayal of addiction and that damage it reaps.