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Desierto (Spanish with English Subtitles)

Two men are driving a group of Mexicans across the desert to the US border. When their truck breaks down, they are forced to walk to the border. On the other side is Sam (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an angry and drunken man who we see at the beginning being mad because the Border Patrol had not followed up on some “tracks of illegals” he saw in the desert. Once Sam spots the group, he takes matters into his own hands. I had very mixed feelings about the movie. It was very suspenseful, and I am a fan of the acting of Gael Garcia Bernal, who played one of the Mexicans escaping into the US. Morgan also played Sam as a really mean and creepy character. The movie is rather depressing. It reminded me of the movie “Targets” by Peter Bogdanovich from the 1960’s. The difference is that in Desierto, the character development is so shallow that one never really understands the motivations behind what Sam does, which is just plain mean. The film never really is the commentary on the anger against “illegals” that it could have been. So, the film gets “one thumb up” from me, mostly because it is very suspenseful (even though its decent into just plain meanness gets rather distracting).

About Gary Burkholder

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