The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood


The Neighborhood. The Barrio. The Hood. Growing up here is no joke: people get stabbed, people get robbed. Gang life is all about surviving, belonging and hustling. But with all your friends dying around you, where do you go to find hope? “The Neighborhood” tells the story of four Chicano gangsters who grow up on the streets of Southern California, find hope in Jesus Christ and are now pastors serving others.

Dove Review

“The Neighborhood” is a powerful and gripping documentary about former gang members who are pastors today! Tommy Cota, former prisoner, is now the pastor of Hope Alive Church in Santa Ana, Calif. In addition to his story, former gang members David Zamora, David Trujillo, and Jose Hernandez all talk about their past lives and where God has brought them since then. None of them ever dreamed about being a pastor, but God led each one to that position.

They each share how Jesus was made real to them through the testimony of others, and they make the following statements in the film: “Free from guilt,” “God loves us,” “Jesus Christ is reality,” and “I’m grateful.” One former gang member says he asked the Lord why He saved him, and the Holy Spirit replied, “Why not?”

The film includes re-enactments of young men smoking marijuana and cigarettes, drinking, and talking about drugs, a few utterances of profanity, and violent re-enactments or comments about violence including death. So, we are awarding the film our “Faith-Based” Seal, meaning it has a faith message but contains objectionable material. However, it is a powerful witnessing tool and shows what God did in the lives of former gang members who are now on fire for God.

Content Description

Sex: Talk of sexual abuse; talk of a married couple messing around.
Language: H-1; "B*tch" (in song)-1; an "F the police" comment in which just the letter, not the word, is used.
Violence: Guns; argument in re-enactment; talk of violence and shooting; the picture of a young Christian man who was shot and shown in a casket; man said he saw his dad physically and verbally abuse his mother and pull her by her hair; comments about gang violence; man used a kid to be a look-out, and man robbed a home; guys jump a young man, and blood is on his nose; blood on T-shirt of corpse; man had fantasy of dismembering people; a bottle is broken against a wall.
Drugs: Several scenes showing the smoking of marijuana; cigarette smoking in several scenes; cigarette behind man's ear; drinking in several scenes, including beer; the mention of using and selling drugs, with comments like, "I was a dope fiend"; the mention of crack cocaine; a comment about being drunk and using PCP; a man told a woman that heroin was the love of his life and that she was second; the mention of pills.
Nudity: Shirtless man in photo.
Other: Comments about divorce and neglectful parents or fathers; tattoos on men; rival gangs.


Director: Riley Taylor
Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 54 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Vince Romo, David Zamora Jr., Tommy Cota, Jose Hernandez, David Trujillo, David Zamora Sr. Narrator: Ernest "Kilroy" Roybal
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter