Gosh this movie sounded good. The synopsis used words like ‘breathtaking’, ‘existential odyssey’, ‘abstract allegory’ and ‘a political version of a Beckett play.’ It really wasn’t any of those things though it has an interesting topic and some nice moments. It is a film in two distinct parts: we see Nero, a teen of Mexican origin who grew up in LA but was deported with his parents, trying to cross the border back to the US. In LA he meets up with his brother but not before being picked up by the police for looking too Mexican in a wealthy area of Beverley Hills. Nero’s plan is to be a ‘Greencard soldier’ where he can join the US military in exchange for a Greencard.
The second part of the film is Nero as a soldier in some unnamed North African/Middle Eastern country. There are some interesting conversations between him and two black soldiers where his lower status as a Mexican is clear. There is fighting and some contrived events that isolate him and see him suffer the same treatment he experienced in LA. And then it’s done. It’s dedicated to all the Greencard soldiers who fought and were then deported so the implication is that Nero’s sacrifice was all for nought.
There was some nice cinematography of blasted landscapes, likening the war zone to the no man’s land between the US and Mexico. There were some nice performances but overall it felt a bit messy and less than the sum of its parts.
Bechdel test – fail