By Laurie Coker
Never have I been as painfully bored in a movie, especially at SXSW, until I sat and squirmed through Western, a documentary about the border towns of Eagle Pass and its Mexican neighbor Piedras Negra. I truly wish I had better things to say, but I just don’t. Having grown up with a father who loves Westerns and on a border town on the Rio Grande, I had high hopes; I even took a friend who I thought would enjoy it. It took all our strength to stay awake and it was an early screening.
IMDB.com carries this synopsis “For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, TX, from Piedras Negras, MX, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.” From this I expected something exciting – the only “darkness” that “descended” was that of my mood. The entire affair was as dull as dirt and in actual fact, dull and dirt, work to describe the appearance of the towns and the events that transpire there.
I simply cannot think of a single thing positive to say about Western, but director Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross. The story is dismal and dreary, and the directors do little to hone in on any tangible threat, at least not enough to move me. Perhaps because my guest and I grew up in the Valley of Texas, little surprises us about politics and fears, especially these days. I am sure there are far more exciting or interesting things to explore than these two sleepy and nap-inducing towns.
As numbed as I am to the troubles of Texas border towns, I would expect more than a slow monotonous mosey through a story involving cartels in Mexico and two key players. I am placing an F in my grade book. I don’t even think, my John Wayne, Western loving father would find anything interesting about Western.