Yes, DMovies publishes yet another review about immigration and the US-Mexico border. Yes, we insist on exposing inflammatory social-cultural themes. So if you are fed up with that, fair enough, maybe that’s not your thing. But if you still believe that cinema is a tool for change in the way we perceive the world, then go and watch Transpecos.
This film is less about building a wall and more about how border patrol agents deal with their daily tasks. It is less about pointing out who is to blame and more about understanding that there are no heroes here. The border patrol agents aren’t going to solve drug smuggling. Be it a rock or a grain of sand, in water they sink as the same.
Their routine inspection goes from tracking footprints and impeding mules to enter American territory via the Chihuahuan Desert. Transpecos starts with a very brief introduction and then it moves to a hypnotic thriller. On a remote outpost along the US-Mexican border, the lives of three border patrol agents are forever changed when a routine vehicle inspection goes awry. During the stretches between inspections, the trio – Flores (Gabriel Luna), Davis (Johnny Simmons) and Hobbs (Clifton Collins Jr) – prevent a man from crossing the border. Hobbs is shot and they soon find out that there were drugs in the car. The problem is that Davis knew it and he was supposed to let him in.
The feature presents an insidious plot, co-written by the director Greg Kwedar and writer Clint Bentley, two newcomers in the cinema production. Davis is a corrupted officer but his dilemma is that the cartel threatened him to kill his relatives. On the other hand, Flores’ dilemma is that he is a Mexican man working for American police. He is a vendido, in other words a traitor.
Transpecos is beautifully shot and you won’t get bored. It has some curious elements, such as the fact that Hobbs cannot enter a hospital. If he does, then Davis will be caught. So there is a possibility that a Mexican female healer treats him. She speaks Mayan. In the healing ritual, it becomes transparent that all three border agents are cursed. In fact, there is a hint regarding it on the opening scenes. See if you can guess it.
The point of view is the most extraordinary aspect of Transpecos. By portraying the morals and ethics of each agent, it reveals how a bureaucratic action can shape the lives of common people. It also can be applied to the US agents who are carrying out Trump’s Muslim ban at airports. The press is listening to the stories of those who are detained. It would be curious to listen to the stories of those who detain.
Transpecos was part of Glasgow Film Festival that ends today. The film will be distributed in the UK by StudioCanal. You can watch the film trailer below: