Desierto is a very realistic look into the gritty and dangerous road of illegal crossing into the United States. The film gives a good look into all the dangers as you follow Moises, a lonely traveler who befriends members of a group who are crossing from Mexico to the U.S.. His journey, plagued with trouble from the start, only intensifies as the group fall prey to Sam, a racist who takes the border patrol duties into his own hands. The fight for survival is relentless and quickly escalates when Sam sends his loyal yet very vicious dog Tracker after Moises and the group. Lost and running for there lives in a hot unforgiving desert, the odds are stacked against them as they struggle to stay alive!
This film is wonderfully directed by Jonas Cuaron, who really brings the intensity to your typical fight for survival story line. The bond he conveys on screen between Sam (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Tracker (Dog) almost gives a new meaning to Mans Best Friend. The clever use of utilizing a well trained attack dog really was a highlight of the film for me. Not only does it show how loyal a dog can be but how dangerous it can be in the hands of cruel and equally vicious owner. This bond between Sam and Tracker was strengthened by the very good performance of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whos stole the show with every scene. Not to be out done was lead actor Gael Garcia Bernal (Moises), who pulled his weight and gave one hell of a performance as well. My only complaint comes in the third and final act of the film which seemed to drag on, this could have been easily fixed with some editing and cut down by half the time.
In all, this was one solid film dealing with a sad truth of things happening at our borders. Its patients to not go over the top make it a serious drama, one which can be compared to some of the top thrillers out there! The tone of the film is constant throughout and really delivers a gritty atmospheric feel of the desert and surrounding environments. A well rounded film with a lengthy and somewhat disappointing third act, this movie is a high 7!