A group of Mexican emigrants attempts to cross the Mexican-US border. What begins as a hopeful journey becomes a harrowing, bloody and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante and his loyal Belgian Malinois dog chase the group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous borderland. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.
- Moises: Gael García Bernal
- Sam: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
- Mechas: Diego Cataño
- Lobo: Marco Pérez
- Adela: Alondra Hidalgo
- Ramiro: Oscar Flores
- Ulysse: David Lorenzo
- Border Patrol: Lew Temple
- Un animateur radio: Butch McCain
- Migrant: Claudia Angélica Amador Castellanos
- Migrant: Dolores Micaela Guzmán Méndez
- Casting: Mary Vernieu
- Producer: Alfonso Cuarón
- Producer: Carlos Cuarón
- Casting: Venus Kanani
- Producer: Charles Gillibert
- Production Design: Alejandro García
- Producer: Alex García
- Producer: Jonás Cuarón
- Costume Design: Andrea Manuel
- Screenplay: Mateo Garcia
- Director of Photography: Damián García
- Daddie0: This is one of those films that takes some time and consideration to fully assess.
One one level, it’s a straight-forward action/thriller with a unique and interesting setting. Heroes and antiheroes pervade as we are plunged into what is for most of us a new experience and reality. Of course, one that is fully fictionalized. If you can get the emotional distance to view it as such, the film works fairly well, even though it follows a fairly predictable narrative arc that we have seen in many other contexts. (Boy meets cat, boy saves cat, boy better save cat again and again and again, etc.)
On another level this film serves as a none-too-subtle political and terse philosophical commentary about current disagreements within the United States of America and her southern bordering nation. In this aspect the film uses all the finesse of a sledgehammer meeting a mosquito, with thinly developed two-dimensional characters that later on still seem to betray themselves far too quickly. In this aspect the film seems to fail in changing minds (if expected to engage the “other”) or succeed in reinforcing biases (if expected to create our oh-so-delightful echo chambers).
I can imagine this film really working well in a different time and place, but in our current historical context–for which it was undoubtedly developed and funded–it just doesn’t work all that well.
My advice: watch if you can lay down your ideologies, sink into the experience and enjoy it as an action/thriller. If you can’t do that you will likely find yourselves aggravated by the experience no matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum. (3/5)