At times, interesting – at times, a bit long and at times, neutral. That’s the best way to describe the movie in focus today, Desierto. It’s hard to draw a conclusion and even be able to give an opinion on it mainly because it’s not the best nor is it the worst movie to watch. With a straight-forward plot, a small cast and every scene shot from one location – Desierto can at times be intriguing but also a bit long and pointless a other times. I can see what the thinking was originally but certainly there could have be more done with it.
So, what’s it all about exactly?
As mentioned earlier, the movie is set in a desert with the focus being largely on a migrant named Moses who leads 13 other migrants on a trek through the harsh (maybe even worse) terrain along the U.S-Mexico border. This all happens when their truck suddenly breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Inconvenience soon turns into horror as the sounds of gunfire shatter the tranquil desert landscape. Desperate and on the run, the survivors find themselves in a fight for their lives against a psychotic sniper and his vicious hunting dog. Moises must now use his wits and instincts to kill the relentless predator before he claims more victims.
It’s also interesting to note that the film was shown in the Special Presentations section of the ‘2015 Toronto International Film Festival’, where it won the Prize of the ‘International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations’. It was selected as the Mexican entry for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the 89th Academy Awards.
So, judging from the above you wouldn’t be incorrect in thinking that there’s something to it. It does include interesting scenes in parts but there’s only a few of those in the whole offering. Personally, I like movies that have a good backstory with everything linking together to make the whole thing make sense and be a good watch. That’s not the case though with Desierto and that’s one of my biggest criticisms. The characters as well as the story itself don’t have a proper backstory – you get the feeling that it starts in the middle, continues in the same vain and the ending also leaves one with a whole host of questions.
Cast – Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo & Diego Cataño
Director – Jonás Cuarón
Genre – Drama/Thriller
Running Time – 94 minutes
Desierto is far from perfect and isn’t the best movie I’ve watched however it is intriguing and does grab your attention in parts. It feels rushed and has several holes, with all that though it’s still a good watch and does the job. Desierto just manages to get a 3 out of 5 from me.
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