The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (23)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (21)
| Rotten (2)
Some of the intended moral heft goes astray in the heat and dust - but this is still a promising dry run for bigger things.
A taut 86 minutes of moral dilemmas, a drug deal gone wrong and a very bad day in the lives of three border guards.
Artfully made but wholly accessible for a mainstream audience, it features strong performances but no names in the cast who'll draw attention on their own.
Though rife with implausibilities, "Transpecos" is fortified by strong acting and a location whose desolate beauty is a gift to Jeffrey Waldron's serene camera.
An effectively moody, well-acted and impressively understated thriller by Greg Kwedar in his feature directing debut.
The performances are all solid, especially Luna. And Kwedar's sense of place feels so authentic that you can taste the dust in the back of your throat when the end credits roll.
A potent border fiction that matches high tension thrills with significant characters, played to perfection by Johnny Simmons, Clifton Collins Jr. and Gabriel Luna.
Sometimes keeping things as uncomplicated as possible can be an asset to a twisty, sparse thriller, but in the case of Transpecos that mindset is a major hindrance.
Eventually, it comes across as a toned down Sicario offering very little beyond veiled cynicism and beleaguered attempts at social relevance.
A three-hander with distinctive performances, and starkly beautiful images conjured from the surrounding desert by cinematographer Jeffrey Waldron.
Transpecos, a remarkably assured first feature from director/co-writer Greg Kwedar, takes a simple story of cross-border drug smuggling and crafts a riveting drama in the scrubby Texas desert.
A strong, memorable debut.
Life can be a fickle bitch. Sometimes your life can be exactly the way you want. You have a good job, good friends, a significant other that makes you happy (if that is what you so wish) and nothing can get you down from that high. Sometimes, however, things take a turn for the worse. And they take a turn for the worse very quickly. You may lose your job, your spouse and your house all in the span of several months. Sometimes there's even days where your life, or even several lives, fall apart in the matter of HOURS. This is what brings us to Transpecos. I will be upfront with you, as I usually am, of course. I thought this was a good movie. It was well-written, I thought the acting was damn strong, the setting was desolate to feel like everything that was happening was happening off the grid and away from prying eyes. That gave it a bit of a personal feeling, like you were watching something that you weren't meant to be seeing. I will also say that I like its more small-scale approach to its story. It focuses on three US border patrol agents, due to one of their own working on behalf of the cartel to protect his own family, and how they get involved into this drug trafficking business if, at least, for half a day. The thing I like about that is that, at least at a later point in the film, they bring up the boss of the cartel and how Flores (and Davis) can gain access to him to exact their plan of revenge on him. Or at least Flores' plans, since Davis got them into this situation in the first place. But the film, much like No Country for Old Men, doesn't really follow up on that. No Country spends the entire film building up to a confrontation between Bardem's character and Brolin's character and that confrontation simply never comes. Brolin's character dies off screen and Bardem just goes about his merry way killing everybody. I thought it was a genius approach to the typical western tropes. This movie isn't as masterfully executed as No Country, but it's the same similar approach. The third act seems to build up to Flores finally coming across with the man who led to the death of two of his colleagues and, again, that confrontation never comes. I've always liked that. While No Country did it to subvert the tropes associated with the western genre, I think this movie did it just to showcase that, sadly, one cannot bring down an entire organization, no matter how determined he is to do it. And I think that is, ultimately, what the film is about. One might say that it is a defeatist film, since Flores failed in his quest. But I find that it is anything but, Flores fought right until the very end to get to the cartel boss and make him pay for costing him his two co-workers' lives, but he was outnumbered and outgunned. Like I said earlier, one man cannot bring down an entire organization. Even if that organization might be small when compared to some of the really big cartels. Flores went as far as he could until his body just gave out on him. In a way, it's also a movie about not giving up regardless of what you may face. This is obviously not meant to be an uplifting sort of film, since these people from the cartel are still running around trafficking drugs and bribing agents to help get the drugs in the country easily. Even having said all of that, however, I found that the movie was just missing a certain something. I liked pretty much everything about the film, but I never loved anything about it. And I don't know why. You know how people say they're the jack of all trades, master of none. That's describes this movie. It's good at everything, great at nothing. That's why I only feel comfortable giving this three stars. It's good, for sure, but it never reaches the great territory. I can't give this a wholehearted recommendation, but it's still an enjoyable and well-made movie. This is the movie you watch when you can't find Hell or High Water anywhere else. I don't mean that derisively, but the similarities are obvious and one is clearly better than the other. That shouldn't dissuade you from giving this a shot if you really want to see it.
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