Cinematic Releases: Frontera

Frontera gets a limited run in theaters this week and is available for instant streaming.

"Dude. I make this movie just
like all movies before it.
I. Am. The. Star."

Ed Harris and Michael Pena stretch their dramatic legs in this week's release of Frontera, a movie that attacks the immigration problem head on. Perhaps a bit too liberal in its mode of thinking, Frontera is the story of a family that wants nothing more than to live their lives in the U.S.A.. Sadly for them, their tale is full of depressing tragedy after mind baffling tragedy.The film lends credence to hope and survival that is ultimately miffed by the cold hard realities of life as an illegal trying to cross the U.S. border. 

Frontera is a situational drama that tries to politicize its agenda to mediocre effect. Immigration is a hot issue right now. As it's topical and current, the film doesn't fully know which way to swing its heavy handed approach. It's quite obviously leaning towards a sympathetic view of those that want to come to the U.S. but also insults the viewer with a limited outlook on Southerners and their take on reform. 

Frontera is polarizing in its outlook and presents Ed Harris and Amy Madigan's characters as two of the only compassionate people in this redneck border town. Almost every other Caucasian is either a gun toting buffoon, a mindless rifle shooting Call of Duty brain waste, or a killer with a penchant for murdering border jumpers. At some point, this just becomes insulting. 

"They told me to put all my
hotness in this backpack. I did."
Yet, all is not bad with Frontera. Of course, Ed Harris is in superb form. Does this man ever skip a beat? And Michael Pena escapes the dreadful wrath of that biopic Cesar Chavez with his believable performance as Miguel. His pregnant wife is played by an emotionally ravaged Eva Longoria. She outshines everyone around her with a nearly silent but desperate portrayal. When the focus shifts to her character, Frontera becomes a vivid and painful look inside the female perspective of illegal border crossing and the vile men that take advantage of the battered and broken. 

Through reading other reviews, it's easy to see that this movie is being politicized and bantered about. In my opinion, Frontera is easily construed as liberal leaning propaganda that presents the white man as evil and the illegals as morally superior individuals. Don't get me wrong. I'm about as liberal as they come. At the heart, there is a good story here. The forward progression of overcoming adversity shines bright in Frontera and the acting is really good. But, the agenda behind the movie tends to weigh down the positives and makes the movie a little less enjoyable.