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IFFBoston ’16 Review: Transpecos

The United States border with Mexico is nearly 2,000 miles. The agency in charge, U.S Customs and Border Protection, protect the border with patrols, and checkpoints throughout the miles of empty desert. They’ve seen and experienced wild things in their years, and filmmaker Greg Kwedar sought to capture some of their stories in “Transpecos.” A work of fiction, there are some elements in the film that were inspired by real life experiences, all woven into a thrilling and at times terrifying story.

Agent Flores (Gabriel Luna) and rookie Agent Davis (Johnny Simmons) are on patrol, following some footprints of what looks like a young drug mule. They get back to their check-point where they pass the time with veteran Agent Hobbs (Clifton Collins Jr.). Not the busiest stop, they tell stories, hassle each other, and play games to pass the time. On what seems to be a routine stop, things go completely wrong, and the trio faces a series of extremely challenging decisions, blurring the lines of right and wrong.

We read much about the violent and depraved nature of the Mexican Cartels and their ability to corrupt. It was really great to see a well made film that focuses more on the tension and morality of its characters rather then exploding into a series of gunfights and typical action. There was a great balance struck between the main characters, veteran, experienced, and rookie – and they way that lead the decision making through out was excellent.

“Transpecos,” is Austin based director Greg Kwedar’s first feature and knocks it out of the park. With its great tension filled performances and haunting visuals of the desert, seek this film out!

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