Thursday, January 21, 2021

No Man's Land - Movie Review

The Movie: No Man's Land

The Director: Conor Allyn

The Cast: Jake Allyn, Frank Grillo, Jorge A. Jimenez, Alex MacNicoll, Andie MacDowell, George Lopez

The Story: A modern Western inspired by the real-life "no man's land" areas along the Texas-Mexico border.

The Review:
I really see where this movie was trying to go, I just wish it had been given more time to really find the sweet spots in the story. Taking on a modern day Western where you try and turn the tables by putting the "gringo" white boy in a position normally reserved for Mexican people trying to make their way to America is a very delicate task and I feel that this is where the movie falls short. The audience is supposed to feel bad and have empathy for a young man who ends up fleeing to Mexico after "accidentally" shooting and killing a young Mexican boy but I just couldn't go there.

Nothing about the journey he goes on (illegally) in Mexico makes me think he understands or falls in love with the country, its people, or its culture which is supposed to be the point of the movie. He still has an immense amount of privilege that both he and his family fully utilize throughout the entire story and there are still more than a couple scenes where the white person gets to teach the ethnic people how to do something because clearly he would be better at whatever the task is. The more I think about this movie, the more I think about how it is coming from a completely Caucasian perspective and misses the mark in so many different ways.

I mean, the guy gets away with murder, gets on a horse and outruns a Texas Ranger in a truck, runs around Mexico illegally, lies to everyone he meets, finally gets caught by the Texas Ranger but then immediately escapes so he can go to the kid's funeral, the kid that he murdered at the beginning of this run on sentence. He gets two years for all of that and I'm supposed to feel bad for him and his family? If nothing else, the movie is a completely accurate representation of white privilege.

Did I mention that there are more than a few Mexicans portrayed as gangsters and criminals, some complete with tattoos to go along with their knives and guns? And of course the "gringo" still manages to outsmart and out fight them at every turn, even when they have guns and he finds a random rock to throw. Okay, I'm going to stop now because, the more I type, the less I like this movie and it wasn't doing well to begin with.

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