Strong triangular drama set in Mexico/Texas border , well shot by José Luis Borau and with top-notch acting by Victoria Abril
Set between Laredo (Texas) and Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) tells the old story about an extreme rivalry emerging of a border patrol agent called Mitch (Scott Wilson as two-fisted , violent guard in pursuit of illegal people) who is determined to catch his old nemesis named Bryant (David Carradine), an ex-colleague and ex patrolman . Bryant is an American criminal who successfully smuggles illegal aliens across the border from Mexico . Meanwhile , a newcomer , rookie patrolman , Chuck (Jeff Delger) who is in the ¨Border Patrol Academy¨, falls in love for a prostitute called Engracia (Victoria Abril) who has hard relations to Mitch . Chuck gets caught up in trying to help Engracia and marry her .
Spanish/US co-production frontier drama with excellent players and professionally directed by the great Spanish filmmaker/writer José Luis Borau . This acceptable drama develops a peculiar romance , a triangular love story with abundant nudism and erotic scenes , plenty of sadness and melancholy , between a young cop , a veteran policeman who sells freedom and a prostitute who sells pleasure . Thought-provoking and thoughtful script by Borau , he casts a suitable severe eye on the serious problem of illegal immigration in the Texas/Mexico border , heading a first-rate cast and giving a really dramatic narration . This is a 'rara avis' film of the 80s because dealing with a strong portrait of immigration , it didn't please the American public and most reviewers panned and censored it . Borau's conceptual and audacity , as well as the social criticism , result to be so evident in this film that resulted to be real flop in box office . This ¨Rio Abajo¨ belongs to ¨Mexican/US border immigration sub-genre¨ that in the eighties got several renditions such as ¨Borderline¨(80) by Jerold Freeman with Charles Bronson , Wilford Brimley , Ed Harris , Bruno Kirby and ¨The Border¨ (82) by Tony Richardson with Jack Nicholson , Harvey Keitel , Elpidia Carrillo , and Valeria Perrine .
Co-writer , producer , filmmaker Borau develops an extremely crude retelling , including violence , nudism and being decently shot . The flick deals with various interesting issues as immigration , corruption , jealousy , ¨Amor Fou¨ , and including some very dramatic scenes such as the surprising finale . Top-drawer acting by Scott Wilson as a veteran , violent and tough border patrol guard who is reckless enough . Victoria Abril gives a very good interpretation as the attractive and young whore ; even so , this role is no saint and it's hard to care too deeply about the fates of these unfortunate people trapped in the brutally depicted squalor of a Tex-Mex hell . Mediocre acting by Jeff Delger as a naive patrolman who test his own sense of decency refuses to become involved in the wholesale corruption rife . Support cast is pretty good , such as : David Carradine as Bryant who passes illegal human smuggling crossing the border and Jesse Vint as Chief Owens who faces corruption and violence within his department , among underlings and fellow border patrolmen . In addition , Mitch Pileggi , formerly his successful TV interventions and being last film project for Sam Jaffe .
Striking , fine cinematography by Teo Escamilla , including correct remastering and adequate outdoor sequences shot on location in Mexico and Texas . This unknown action/romance motion picture was compellingly directed by Jose Luis Borau , though failed at the Spanish box office . He managed to make a fluid , decent and enjoyable drama . Borau began as a Critic of cinema and to publish articles about cinema in newspapers . He enters the Spanish Official Cinema School where he later become a teacher and after that , he directed documentaries and films . He was President of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ; besides , member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1991 . Borau was one of the best Spanish filmmakers who alternated flops as ¨Rio Abajo¨, ¨Leo¨ , ¨El Monosabio¨, ¨Tata Mia¨, along with successes such as ¨La Sabina¨ , ¨Mi Querida Señorita¨ , ¨Hay Que Matar a B¨, and his greatest picture , the hit ¨Furtivos¨ (1975) that was one of the greatest successes of Spanish cinema and perhaps, one of the best Spanish films ever.
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