Desierto Review

Desierto (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Jonás Cuarón
Writers: Jonás Cuarón, Mateo Garcia
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo

Plot:  A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken border patrol duties into his own racist hands.

Running Time: 88 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 61%    Audience 47%

Why I Watched It: The trailer looked decent and I’m a big fan of Jeffery Dean Morgan.

Random Thoughts: I keep waiting for Jeffery Dean Morgan to land that big movie role, I know he’s very good on Walking Dead, here’s a guy who can play both sides of the coin good guy bad guy and has charisma to spare but he’s not had “that movie role” yet.

What I liked: Sadly not a lot, I had some real problems with this film but let me find something I can say something positive about.  Both Morgan and Bernal are good actors and they do what they can here without them the film isn’t worth reviewing.

The film is hot really well the desert looks both beautiful and scary at the same time.  You get a real feel of the terrain, it felt hot.

Also the dog in this film is a better villain than Morgan’s character here, he’s scary and relentless, I wonder if the film would have worked with just the dog as the lead bad guy.

What I Didn’t Like: In recent memory I don’t remember seeing a film so under written, the basic plot is a bunch of illegal Mexicans are trying to cross the desert and are killed by a shooter, or sniper if you will.  That is all we get, both Morgan and Bernal get about one scene of character work, we don’t know who these people are and even Morgan we get he’s racist but we need more than that with him willing to kill a bunch of people in cold blood.  If you take out the oblivious political overtones this is just a version of The Most Dangerous Game, a man hunting people.  We get no depth, we get no reason to care other than it’s disturbing.

The film is also a mess cause of the lack of characters and really one plot point, it’s a game of cat and mouse, the bad guy is hunting them, that’s it.  The film drags at under 90 minutes. Also the film is downright dumb at times, Morgan is killing people with accuracy he seems like a professional sniper with the shots he pulls out, he does this one shot that is downright impossible but guess what happens when it’s just him and Bernal he suddenly can’t shot, he almost misses sides of mountains.

Here’s a nitpick but I think an important one, now the film is trying to set up how dangerous the desert is and we even here on the radio it’s the hottest day of the year, Morgan is in a truck drinking Jack Daniels throughout the film, we never see him drinking water and for half the film he’s on foot but he’s relentless running and hunting down his prey.  We have the hunted carrying water, one guy can barely run, it’s silly it’s movie logic.

The ending is so boring I almost didn’t finish the film, it’s not a good sign that you’re mind starts to wondering during the last big scene, it’s the two men going around a mountain, and then when we have the finish there’s a character turn that is not believable for a moment and it ruins whatever you built in your bad guy.

Final Thoughts: This was a huge misfire, there was no effort in having characters, I didn’t even know what they’re names were,  the film gave me nothing to hold onto, why is the bad guy doing what he’s doing?  Why should I care.

Rating: 3/10

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