Looking for a different kind of foreign film? Not the artsy kind, not the crowd-pleasing kind, but one with terror and suspense? Welcome to “Desierto,” a film that couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment than right now. It is about a group of immigrants who have just crossed the border and are in the desert, looking forward to new, better lives in America. Unfortunately for them, a hick cowboy with a mean dog is taking it as his mission to shoot and kill as many illegal immigrants as he can. Obviously, a standoff is coming. Can anyone survive?
The movie works because it doesn’t push its concept beyond B-movie basics. Gael Garcia Bernal is a good protagonist and Jeffrey Dean Mprgan is chilling as the villain, who sees killing illegal immigrants as being all in a day’s work. The film is so well-made that you feel like you’re in the desert with the characters. Director Jonas Cauron gives us a blunt, unpretentious thriller that scores big because it never tries to make political and didactic points. If you want to be thrilled beyond all expectation, go see “Desierto.” –CoolAC