By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

The new IFC movie, No Man’s Land, is by Texas filmmakers Conor Allyn (Walk.Ride.Rodeo) who directed, based on the script written by his brother, Jake Allyn (protagonist in this film) and co-writer David Barraza (Spanish TV series writer and executive producer for this film). This is not the first film to be released this month/year with a central theme about immigration into the United States of America, but it certainly does reflect the consequences of human life on either side of the border despite anyone’s opinion of the matter that continues to be a topic of discussion in all levels of government. No Man’s Land was the Opening Night Film at the recent GuadaLAjara Film Festival in Los Angeles. The filmmakers were present during the virtual Q&A where the Allyn brothers spoke of this personal project that they worked long and hard to make their story a reality based on the knowledge they had of the topic in Texas. The film is a simple but important story of how two families decide to handle issues with their sons as they deal with the conflicts that arise along the border. The film has some strong performances by both lead and supporting actors, although the somewhat predictable script could have used some tweaking for the supporting cast. Although the story line may be simple, there certainly are many scenes that feel authentic and not made to feel overly dramatic to head over to the television novela style.  

For fans of the Western genre, this film should satisfy the storyline of outlaws on the run and who end up south of the Texas border. The young man who makes a break for it, Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn), does so on his horse named Sundance, not to avoid the consequences of his action, but to seek forgiveness first. This modern – day Western genre story has many scenes of genuine beauty on each side of the border as captured in the cinematography by Juan Pablo Ramirez (I Carry You With Me/Te Llevo Conmigo that is currently in the film festival circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival this month).

Strong performances from the cast keep the audience engaged, starting with Allyn (The Baxters and Mayan M.C. TV series) who portrays a talented baseball player from Texas with a future in New York, but has a heart and is a character the audience won’t hate at the onset. Veteran actor and comedian George Lopez, stars as a Texas Ranger who is not bilingual in Spanish and is believable as he performs his law enforcement duties in each country. Jorge A. Jimenez (Alita: Battle Angel, Narcos TV series and Machete Kills) stars as the father of the young son who loses his life during the border crossing and his scenes of anger and anguish can be deeply felt by the audience. Andres Delgado is quite good as the young evil coyote and his performance is chilling, especially during a scene where a bus is forced to stop and passengers are threatened. Frank Grillo (acts and executive produces) and Andie MacDowell star as Jackson’s concerned parents and are a great addition to this supporting cast. They are believable as parents, but they don’t have excessive screen time to overpower Jackson’s story. One powerful though brief scene of McDowell has her recalling when Texans and Mexicans were kind to each other versus the dramatic shift that exists.

The PG-13 rated film is 115 minutes in duration. It opens in theaters on Friday, January 22, 2021, including the Austin area. Check local listings for a theater near you or when it is available On Demand.

Source: IFC Films

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