Hostile Border (Pocha: Manifest Destiny) (2016)
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Critic Reviews for Hostile Border (Pocha: Manifest Destiny)
Despite its promising setup, Hostile Border lacks narrative tension, with the screenplay by co-director Kaitlin McLaughlin never quite coming into dramatic focus.
A strong visual sense, intriguing tempo and effective economy of words combine to make Hostile Border an above-average crime thriller.
Co-directors Dwyer and Kaitlin McLaughlin prove more adept at the first act's low-key character building than the action-movie showdowns they're building toward, but Claudia's use of a makeshift flamethrower late in the game is an unexpected joy.
Hostile Border starts off intriguingly enough, but quickly spirals downward without ever gaining any momentum... More importantly, the film struggles with its own themes.
McLaughlin, for whom this is her first feature-length screenwriting credit, gives her characters incisive dialogue that keeps the human relations front and center. She also knows the value of silence and its ability to convey fear, dread and loneliness.
It's the sort of movie that has a sense of authenticity to it, even if the circumstances themselves are tremendously dramatic. It's a strong, solid debut from Dwyer, and will hopefully serve as a calling card for him and his talented cast.
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