Many movies generally serve up one of two things: Entertainment value, or a message. The best flicks, however, manage to serve up both in equal measure. Without question, "Sin Fronteras" is one of them. The message is apparent right from the opening scene featuring a congress member and his views on the Mexican border, but the hard-hitting truth digs even deeper, and plays out in a very entertaining way. Written and directed by Ricardo Perez-Selsky, this gritty short film definitely doesn't waste any time getting right to it, and this lightning fast short film is straight-up indie goodness - complete with a stinging blade of truth that cuts deep. All in all, I was more than a little impressed.
In the film, Juliana has to move... and fast. After witnessing a broadcast featuring congressman Sharp - regarding the Mexican border, and the stereotyped fear-mongering Sharp is escalating, Juliana quickly realizes and reacts to the fact it is no longer safe for her and her son. She decides to get across the border, to safety, by any means necessary. Shortly after leaving their home, by chance, she crosses paths with Elizabeth and figures this random woman is their best chance to safety.
At gunpoint, Elizabeth is forced to drive Juliana and her son across the border and along the way, feelings of empathy rise for this woman and her child. As luck would have it, Elizabeth is the wife of congressman Sharp, and it has been made clear that she herself, doesn't agree with his political stance entirely. It's after they successfully cross the border that the unthinkable happens. Vigilantes decide it's Elizabeth's car they want to check out for themselves, and honestly, what happens next is far worse than any issues crossing the Mexican border. If nothing else, "Sin Fronteras" reminds us that no matter what side of the wall you are on, bad people are just bad people. More importantly? This film explores how fear-mongering and political wrong-doings can grossly exaggerate the feelings of hatred within some people - with significant effect.
Truth be told? I was a little apprehensive when this movie began. The choice to use a really dusty and overblown color grade felt a little off-kilter, and my expectations were substantially lowered. But all of that changed quite quickly, and honestly? The choice of color actually enhanced the story... and not in a small way. I truly believe that had a more standard color grade been used, "Sin Fronteras" would probably have lost some of its pizzaz... perhaps more than some. The color scheme worked to enhance the story being told, and along with some nicely handed cinematography and direction, it all fit together nicely.
Speaking of the movie's "pizzaz" brings me to think of the cast who made this one gritty, scary, and believable film. For the most part, the technical elements - and even the story itself - don't amount to much without talented performers to bring their roles to life. Amber Lee Ettinger and Alexis Johnson, as the two leading ladies, elevate this film from good to great. There's not really much else to write on the matter; this truly was an excellent short film.
At the end of the day? This is one of those short films that just work on multiple levels. Gritty, entertaining, and with an actual message. I would have liked to see a little more of what happened after the movie ended, because the potential complications are quite numerous... but that's alright. Leave them wanting more - right? For such a short film, there's a lot to digest, but one thing is for sure... I enjoyed my time here. Even better? This one is free to watch - and the links are below. Four stars, well done.