7.7/10
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7 user 2 critic

Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary (2005)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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3 March 2005 (USA)  »

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High quality filming, great subjects, very educational but....
24 January 2007 | by (Mendocino Coast) – See all my reviews

The Death Train part of this documentary is the most evocative and is unforgettable. We see the people riding on the tank cars and feel their desperation. We meet lots of very raw, real people throughout this film. As a former Texan and current Californian, I feel I know much first hand but learned more than I expected. I got to feel the rivalries between Mexico and states to the south and feel some of this journey. When the cameras follow the people, rather than interview with subtitles, Wetback is at its best. The actual crossing of the Rio Grande is a tremendous visual moment. But the movie had too many talking heads, although they were real people and their comments appeared natural. I want to see more and be told less. It was like arriving 5 minutes after the action most of the time. I wondered about the camera crew, which carried on in old fashioned objective style, in which the cameraman is invisible. I would have preferred to know something about who was telling me this story. Lots of cops were quoted, albeit cops sensitive to the problem. We are never told who anyone is, such as the funny old white couple. The nerdy redneck from Arizona is a tragicomic figure, as raw as any in the film. He is, of course, disgusted when he finds hair gel and other signs the immigrants are human. The cinematography and camera angles were original, but I am not into that kind of thing too much. I recommend this film as a high quality production, with great people, but 97 minutes starts to be long after about 70 minutes.


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