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.