9 December 2009 | celr
An excellent Film Noir
This may not be a great film, but it is a very good one. It's about two young men from Mexico who enter the US illegally and wind up in New York. It is in the convention of film noir, that is the characters, under the pressure of hard times their own weaknesses and their need to survive, are doomed from the start. Other reviews here have suggested that the plot is too contrived and unbelievable, but this is a feature of film noir, fate intervenes to frustrate the good impulses of the characters and accentuates the bad. I found the drama compelling and the characters believable. There is no moral here, no uplifting commentary; fate has them in its clutches and as in Greek drama the characters appear to have free will but are really caught up in the inevitable downward spiral.
I will not give away any of the plot twists but this film kept me guessing. Nothing was predictable or commonplace. There was no overt message about the plight of immigrants except the movie conveys a powerful impression of what it must feel like to be an illegal immigrant in a big city without money, friends or support. But the movie isn't a political tract, it is a gripping drama meant to entertain, not instruct. It is very like a lot of the 'B' movies of the 40s and 50s, products of entertainment which become art in themselves. On the other hand it reminded me a lot of "The Bicycle Thief" by Vittorio de Sica.