Frontera is a film that focuses on the tumultuous border situation between the U.S./Mexican border. Unfortunately, it fails to give us either a meaningful journey or a real opinion on the subject.
The film centres on Roy, played by Ed Harris, a retired sheriff whose property sits right on the border and is protected by a simple barbed wire fence. Roy’s life is turned upside down when some local kids start shooting at Miguel, a border jumper played by Micahel Peña, in order to scare him back to Mexico. Roy’s wife Olivia hears the shots and rides to see what is going on when her horse is startled by a close shot and throws her to the ground. She smashes her head on a rock and kills her. Roy arrives to find Miguel standing over his wife and flees the scene in the confusion when he sees that Roy thinks he killed her.
Instead of tackling all the complexities of the border issues and illegal immigration, the film fails to take a stand and say anything. The characters aren’t well developed, and in the end everything simply works out for the best, with almost no drama or real climax. They wrap things up real quick in the last five minutes and the characters get through this film a lot easier than they should have.
The only character who has any real emotional depth and experience is Miguel’s wife, played by Eva Longoria. She has a harrowing experience with the “Coyotes”, a group of human traffickers who rape, torture, and abandon her. At least in this brief moment of the film the filmmakers show us the all too real risk of these people searching for a better life. Unfortunately this is only a footnote in this well acted, but very unbalanced film.
Frontera tries to be a social commentary, a suspenseful “Fugitive” type story, and an intense drama all at once but fails to get even close to any of these labels. It leaves the viewer completely unconvinced and unsatisfied.
Frontera is out now from Video Service Corp.