Monday, August 4, 2014

Frontera: Eva Longoria Desperate Housewife In Hell, In Brewing Border Wars Bromance

Actor Michael Pena, who already displayed his tremendous talent and conviction earlier this year filling the formidable shoes as larger than life fearless farm worker activist and UFW labor leader Cesar Chavez in the biopic bearing his name, brings this same fury and idealist commitment to an ordinary man thrust into extraordinary historical circumstances, in Frontera. This brewing border wars bromance initially pits Pena against a disgruntled retired Arizona sheriff played with magnificent complexity and subtlety by Ed Harris, a rancher perpetually peeved about undocumented Mexicans crossing his land in search of work and sustenance in the United States.

In the course of embarking on that journey he's taken many times before to support his family back in Mexico and his now pregnant wife (Eva Longoria), Pena and a companion become trapped as unfortunate victims of apparent rifle target practice by bullying gringo teens cornering them from a cliff. In the course of which Harris' wife (Amy Madigan) who is passing by riding her horse, is caught up in the terrifying moment and suffers a tragic accident.

And in the ensuing panic and rage gripping that small Arizona town, Pena's bewildered migrant is imprisoned and his brave and determined wife travels across the border on a subsequently dangerous mission to find and save him. Even as doubts about what really transpired beyond racist accusations, hidden agendas and coverups trouble the former sheriff. As he takes matters into his own hand to the dismay of the police force, and mounts his own investigation.

Vigilantism, whether spurred on by homicidal revenge or on the other hand idealistic protest opposing official injustice, has long been an enduring theme in American movies, and no surprise there. With a US government that increasingly ranges from corruption to a woefully broken system, frustrated civilian activism whether from the right or left, is spurred on. And Michael Berry's Frontera blends these timely socio-political elements in dramatically bracing ways, intertwined with the current south of the border turbulent immigrant crisis in progress today.


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