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Made as a sort of political commentary for free trade agreements -
NAFTA (North American Free Trade) - that was a mistake, someone got
really sidetracked! This is a movie very worth seeing, and a story that
is screeching for a gesture of humanity. It stands on its own without
any need for appeal to populist causes.
This a story and wants to be a film, a dramatized documentary about sordid evil human exploitation. What has been happening in Juarez, Mexico for the past decade may have been helped by some political and commercial developments, but the origin and the result is pure deathly evil.
Pay attention. The first nearly 50% of 200 votes about this film on IMDb were "1". Eh ... one? Think here for a moment . . . the story was and continues to be viciously true, the depiction is very accurate. Over 4000 (!) women in this US/Mexican border town have gone missing, and over 400 have been found dead !! In just a few years.
This has been going on for a decade and has been repeatedly reported throughout the world's press. Dedicated reporters and honest police in this town have been killed in numbers scraping to reveal the truth, and still the vacuum of female death continues.
For credibility, Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Lopez have had so so ratings, but have had hits as well as misses, but have not been known to be lacking in integrity. Greg Nava, writer and director has had some strong directing with some powerful histories (6+ ratings most of the time.) Martin Sheen, rarely misses. So, should the first 40% of the votes really be "1" ?? Were all these cinema professionals so off base, or is an internet group subverting the IMDb voting system en mass?? Well, this is the question that probably is begging the integrity of not just this film, but even the IMDb. Guys we need an investigation here. Please check folks, this leads to the very heart of what 10,000's and perhaps 100,000's of IMDb fans trust in. (And in the case of this film, 100's are dying for.) For the film, Jennifer is pretty good, and Antonio has a few but not so many good lines. Nothing is spectacular, but the story and the cinematography is on. The script and direction could have been much better.
Objectively and even from an informed perspective - I've seen 100's of films each year for nearly 50 years,worked in the industry, and have called about 80% of the winners for the top 5 or six film awards ceremonies (by award criteria/bias) for the past 15 years with better than 85% accuracy - this movie is not a popularly rated film so far, per 388 "objective" persons surveyed viewers. But take a look and tell whether the package rates a 4.8 ! I don't believe that this film rates a "10" any more than it rates a "1" or a "4.8". So based on that ludicrousy, I vote "10" until the investigation resolves the nearly 20% of early volume of "1" votes.
It is important that honest and committed film viewers and consciences, vote to give this movie, issue, and the IMDb a dignified rating so that the curious uninformed will be properly attracted to an awareness of this better than average film, that portrays this horrific reality.
Its hard to comment on some "true story" movies! This story...true
story...it's so shocking and scary and really makes you ask yourself
"in what kind of world we are living?".... and that's a good part! It
will scares you but it will show you some real life tragedy that
happened and that will happen... and it could happen to anyone! You
should be aware! So this is really shocking tragedy about brutal life
of females on Mexican/USA boarder! And its true!!!
So after getting me shocked its really hard to comment on acting, scenes, etc. But I must do that because this is no documentary! And from movie aspect... well... it's not that much! I must admit that Jeniffer Lopez is much better actress than on her first movies but everyone else.... Antonio Banderas has just a short role, nothing special and other actors are not some famous... at least not to me! They are good but....
This movie is not for an award but I recommend you to watch it, because it's a true story and it shows hard living, bad politics, corruption, trying to stay alive and you are on your own.......
(sorry on my bad English)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(SPOILERS in the last part of this review)
How does one slam a movie with a good conscience if he thinks the movies' topic is very important? And yet there is not other chance than to criticize the filmmakers for the poor work they've done. That is 'Bordertown'.
At the Berlin film festival - where 'Bordertown' premiered - director Greg Nava (who also wrote the script), co-producer Barbara Martinez and Jennifer Lopez (who also produced) left no doubt how important the movie is to them. A website that accompanies the movie is supposed to raise money for the people in Juarez, special screenings should do the same. Plus they hope that 'Bordertown' will bring attention to the killings of so many women at the border between Mexico and the USA. And maybe this attention will help preventing more murders and maybe even help solving some cases. After all, according to Nava 400 dead bodies were found throughout the years, 3 alone in the last 14 days. 4000 women are still missing.
And it's not just that nobody cares for those women (they have no 'economical value', Nava said in the press conference, and it's true: They make 4 bucks a day, and even enough woman would be happy to take the jobs). Apparently there are people who didn't want the the film makers to touch the subject: Nava received death threats, an assistant who worked with the second unit in Juarez got beaten up by police (according to Martinez). Somebody broke into her hotel room, and when this "somebody" realized they are not going to stop filming he stole the cameras. Main part of the film were not shot in Juarez, but in more supportive Mexican towns and in factories who also were helpful. 'Bordertown' is a movie that deserves to be supported.
And still it is heart breaking how bad the movie is. It's not just bad, it's also at times pathetic and not very logical. Lopez plays a journalist Lauren who is sent to Juarez to write an article about the murders. She used to live in the area, she has a former lover Diaz (Banderas) there who runs a newspaper in Juarez. He is reluctant to help her, until a girl shows up - Eva (Maya Zapata) who got raped but survived because the guys who did it to her believed she was dead. Eva is able to identify the killers, but this puts her and Lauren in serious danger. Still Lauren continues her research...
(possible SPOILERS ahead:)
'Bordertown' is a Hollywood movie which is supposed to make money at ticket offices. Let's forgive the film makers that a lot of the movie consists of 'run and hide' action typical to these kind of thrillers. But it is simply stupid that Lauren eventually is considering to give up her career because of the tragic events. Nava should have made Lopez a pretty standard journalist, which would have made the movie way less pathetic. He also couldn't resist his urge to give Lauren a background which is pretty laughable. And some of the research work she is doing is just unbelievable.
(end of possible SPOILERS)
Obviously the movie was so important to Nava he failed in the end. A good journalist should never be too involved with the topic he is working on. A good filmmaker neither, it seems. Still: If this movies actually helps changing things in Juarez, if it makes same movie-goers research a bit more - thumbs up to 'Bordertown'. I personally would recommend reading about the killings though.
Reading the negative reviews of this movie was kind of shocking, really. This heartbreaking story was one that needed to be told, and with all the meaningless crap that is peddled out of Hollywood, this was like a breath of fresh air. Perhaps "Bordertown" won't get 10 Oscar nominations or whatever, but I enjoyed watching Jennifer Lopez unravel the mystery of what happened to Eva, the young girl attacked, left for dead, and miraculously survived. I thought the performances were courageous and not overdone, and the direction and cinematography was great. The price we pay in our humanity to get lower prices on electronics and other goods, and to line the pockets of corruption wherever it is found, is much too high. I wish more movies like "Bordertown" were being made...it is quite sad to me that movies like this (also Erin Brokovich, North Country, Silkwood, as well as others) go straight to DVD and so many other movies with no message, just a grandiose budget and special effects, are more important than those with something to say.
BORDERTOWN is more than a suspenseful film about a tragic reality that
has been terrifying Juarez, Mexico for years. This film, written and
directed by Gregory Nava ('Mi Familia', 'El Norte', 'Selena', etc),
approaches a public service campaign on the part of Nava and the rest
of his cast and crew - especially producer/star Jennifer Lopez. After
the stunning effect of the film, the viewer is encouraged to watch the
several excellent featurettes on the DVD - and then try to remain
Chicago Sentinel editor George Morgan (Martin Sheen) convinces the reluctant reporter Lauren Adrian (Jennifer Lopez) to fly to Juarez, Mexico to cover a combustible story about the ongoing rapes and murders of women who work the factories along the border for little pay. Lauren would prefer becoming a foreign correspondent and extracts a promise that if she takes on this ugly assignment ('I don't speak Spanish and I don't know anything about Mexico'), Morgan will grant that request. When the beautiful blond Lauren arrives in Juarez she is shocked by the reality: a very young factory worker girl Eva (the fine young actress Maya Zapata) has managed to survive a rape and attempted murder, literally climbing out of her grave and escaping. Lauren and Eva bond and Lauren realizes that her story about the 5000 victims of this heinous serial killing may just rest with the information Eva holds: she can identify her assailants. With the aid of anxious newspaper owner Alfonso Diaz (Antonio Banderas) the three begin the dangerous struggle to unveil the truths about the cover-up of the deaths: the police and government corruption in Mexico are matched by similar deeds in the USA in order to protect the NAFTA arrangement which apparently holds the profit of the mega-factories of more importance then the mere lives of thousands of Mexican women. How the trio infiltrates the corruption (and the buried secret realities of Lauren's humble beginnings) provide the remainder of the film.
Nava elects to shoot this film in garish light and emphasizes the tragic filth and mire of the living conditions of the peasants along the border - each hoping to escape the life situations by crossing into the US. He manages to maintain a coarse cinematic effect that enhances the story. Not only Is Lopez in top form, but also she is assisted by a fine cast of fellow actors including Sonia Braga, Juan Diego Botto, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, Rene Rivera among others. Yes, the story has been told before, but that only means there are many people who want this contemporary tragedy to end. In one of the features on the DVD we are given addresses and names to contact to help stop this horrendous 'feminicide'. Take serious note. Grady Harp
This is a movie that is not a memorable example of cinematography (the plot is very Hollywood-ish, especially for a movie based on a real story), but the acting is quite good and it does give the viewer a fair idea of what is going on in the far away places (at times not so far after all) where our everyday gizmos are actually built in these days. And it is not a pretty picture, by any means. I think that the movie aimed at exposing the ugly truth of what has been going on right at the US border, where hundreds of women have been slaughtered for the past decade or so. But that was not all, because such nightmare did not, and does not, come out of nowhere: it comes straight out of the disastrous situation that exists in the modern-day sweat-houses (aka as 'manufacturing plants' to the big corporations) and the surrounding favelas where their workers live. And the sweat-houses are a direct consequence of, among the rest, 'trade agreements' like the NAFTA. So, even though some people might not like it, this is a political movie, and very rightly so. And now that I think of it, it does have some good cinematography in it: I find the photography extremely good. I liked the yellowish, desert-like tint that pervades the whole movie.
After hearing this movie would not be released on the big screen I had
doubts about whether I wanted to see it. I'm glad my curiosity won out
over the bad press. This movie was compelling, suspenseful, and well
acted. J-lo is believable in her role and gives an impressive
I was uncomfortable through nearly the entire movie; one of the marks of an excellent suspense/drama. The importance of the topic of this movie should be enough to encourage people to see it but it is not for the faint of heart. Put the kids to bed early before starting the movie!!
This was a great movie....... I am from El Paso Texas and these killings have been happening approx. since 2003 and this movie really needed to be made so that people can realize that it is happening in my sister city. El Paso and Juarez are in different countries, but they both join into one. So this problem is not only Mexico's, but it is also a problem that the US experiences. The only reason that this movie is not a 10 is because is did have a bit too much drama... but we have to remember all the hell that this movie got not only from Mexican officials, but from Hollywood. So i give mad props to JLo, Antonio, & to everyone who produced/ contributed to this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Researching the ill effects of "free trade," the gagging contracts US
career lawyers and economists construe for the sole gain of US
multi-national corporations in developing nations, who are promised a
better material world, I had heard that Bordertown was in the making.
At the Berlin film festival writer/producer/director Gregory Nava and
his star Jennifer Lopez, as well as producer Barbara Martinez, were
convincing in their mission to fashion a movie, loosely based on the
facts of continued and brutal rapes with the killing and/or
disappearance of many young woman victims that came to Juarez. (Juarez
is located across the US-Mexican border bridge connecting El Paso, New
Most every feeling being with a conscience will support such an infocational flick, and therefore it hurts to say that the filmmakers failed in their stated, and otherwise laudable aim. The prescription for Hollywood is simply to demand thrilling action so that the adrenaline-seeking crowds will fill the box-office coffers, even though this movie has the looks, feel and production quality that indicate that not much money was spent on it. Besides an above-average amount of "goofs," the emphasis is made on imprecisely-executed chase-and-run scenes, while the development of characters is almost entirely absent due to a rather phlegmatic script.
For instance, we find out about the background of the main character, the journalist Lauren Adrian (Jennifer Lopez) during black-and-white flashbacks that can not possible make sense to the most avid moviegoer, until she actually dialogs its meaning during a scene towards the end of the movie. (IMDB lists the character name as Lauren Fredericks.) Her prior relationship with Juarez-based "El Sol" journalist Diaz (Antonio Banderas) is cleverly revealed during dialogs, and it becomes obvious that Lauren had dumped him in the past, that he now had a family he cared for, and that he still loved Lauren enough to keep her out of danger.
On the other hand, we learn nothing about the police, who want to avoid any publicity of the brutal murders, and who are shown to be only superficially interested in solving the murders that the movie claims are as many as 4.000, while even Amnesty International describes over 400. Of course, if it was one, it would be objectionable, but why the hype? Is that another sign that the movie wants to built on the sure-fire success of sensationalism, while it can not offer the real goods of a well-developed story with two- and three-dimensional characters, who want a better world, while materialistic psycho- and sociopaths seem to have the upper hand in killing teenage women, who come to work in the free-trade-created factories for about 5 bucks a day.
Or that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is written so that US companies can exploit lacking worker safety, virtually non-existent environmental laws, cheap labor and low taxes. To this very day, these companies have not instituted safe transportation for their vulnerable and poverty-stricken women employees during the changing shifts, as these factories never close.
All this is not meant to recommend that you don't go and watch the movie, or better to rent it as a DVD. It has at least entertainment value and the acting is acceptable and probably could not be any better, because the script does not give the actors much creative width and depth to re-enact. Indeed the movie has the feel as if it was made under time stress. There are reported stories that the film crew was threatened, and that many scenes were filmed in other Mexican towns that were more hospitable. It has this lets-get-it-over feeling that is also reflected in jumpy, often confusing, editing, and a music score that seems to be a one-take offering.
This topic is just too important as to trivialize it in an ill-conceived action flick. But a few scenes are as authentic as they can get. The living conditions of the workers, as the heartless and shrewd consequences of companies like DuPont, General Electric and Alcoa, who must live in slums that are literally created out of cardboard, stolen pallets, old tires and held into place by nails driven through bottle caps. And the scene, were an illegal electric hook-up ends into a fire disaster, has in reality occurred many times. Hollywood will then stage a scene were many loose their "homes" in a fast-moving fire and the most evil killer will just show up during such a disaster as the backdrop and try to kill our beloved journalist.
For the real story, enter the string "Juarez murder* women nafta" in your search engine, without the quotes, and get a hold of the real story, which includes drug lords buying into sweat shops (called maquiladoras) and using the "free-zone" infrastructure to transport truckloads of drugs across the bridge and with the railroad into the States along with television sets and monitors, and all the other sweatshop items produced by mostly young women. Our movie will not tell you that and many other aspects, as it busybodies itself with Hollywood-type, often senseless, and carelessly executed action. The topic definitely deserved a masterpiece film to get the message of this exceptionally cruel social and economic disaster across. What a real shame that it missed so badly.
Other than Antonio Banderas (who mails it in as usual, though at least he took all that crap out of his hair), the cast does a more than adequate job or portraying an important story. Eva, in particular, evokes a genuine sense of despair and hope strung together simultaneously. While the script and dialog are unquestionably formulaic, the pathos of the story and evocation of place save this story and the acting is workman like if not fantastic. Not much has been said about the effects of NAFTA and the bordertowns like Juarez that have sprung up and swallowed communities whole and this movie is at least a step in the right direction for rectifying this and telling at least a fragment of an important tale. This movie could only possibly be funny to someone who thought Schindler's List was a real hoot as well.
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