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Bordertown
Bordertown
Actors: Juan Diego Botto, Zaide Silvia Gutierrez, Maya Zapata, Irineo Alvarez, Antonio Banderas
Director: Gregory Nava
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     1hr 54min

A powerful story of life on the border between the United States and Mexico, Bordertown is based on the hundreds of women working in American-owned factories who have been brutally raped and murdered in Juarez, a city grip...  more »
     
     

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Movie Details

Actors: Juan Diego Botto, Zaide Silvia Gutierrez, Maya Zapata, Irineo Alvarez, Antonio Banderas
Director: Gregory Nava
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/29/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 54min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

See the Film, Pass the Word: A Call for Involvement in Publi
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"BORDERTOWN is more than a suspenseful film about a tragic reality that has been terrifying Juarez, Mexico for years. This film, written and directed by Gregory Nava ('Mi Familia', 'El Norte', 'Selena', etc), approaches a public service campaign on the part of Nava and the rest of his cast and crew - especially producer/star Jennifer Lopez. After the stunning effect of the film, the viewer is encouraged to watch the several excellent featurettes on the DVD - and then try to remain uninvolved.

Chicago Sentinel editor George Morgan (Martin Sheen) convinces the reluctant reporter Lauren Adrian (Jennifer Lopez) to fly to Juarez, Mexico to cover a combustible story about the ongoing rapes and murders of women who work the factories along the border for little pay. Lauren would prefer becoming a foreign correspondent and extracts a promise that if she takes on this ugly assignment ('I don't speak Spanish and I don't know anything about Mexico'), Morgan will grant that request. When the beautiful blond Lauren arrives in Juarez she is shocked by the reality: a very young factory worker girl Eva (the fine young actress Maya Zapata) has managed to survive a rape and attempted murder, literally climbing out of her grave and escaping. Lauren and Eva bond and Lauren realizes that her story about the 5000 victims of this heinous serial killing may just rest with the information Eva holds: she can identify her assailants. With the aid of anxious newspaper owner Alfonso Diaz (Antonio Banderas) the three begin the dangerous struggle to unveil the truths about the cover-up of the deaths: the police and government corruption in Mexico are matched by similar deeds in the USA in order to protect the NAFTA arrangement which apparently holds the profit of the mega-factories of more importance then the mere lives of thousands of Mexican women. How the trio infiltrates the corruption (and the buried secret realities of Lauren's humble beginnings) provide the remainder of the film.

Nava elects to shoot this film in garish light and emphasizes the tragic filth and mire of the living conditions of the peasants along the border - each hoping to escape the life situations by crossing into the US. He manages to maintain a coarse cinematic effect that enhances the story. Not only Is Lopez in top form, but also she is assisted by a fine cast of fellow actors including Sonia Braga, Juan Diego Botto, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, Rene Rivera among others. Yes, the story has been told before, but that only means there are many people who want this contemporary tragedy to end. In one of the features on the DVD we are given addresses and names to contact to help stop this horrendous 'feminicide'. Take serious note. Grady Harp, February 08"
Jennifer Lopez...in a great film?!
Marques | Milwaukee, WI USA | 10/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was actually skeptical when I first came across this movie. But I took a chance on seeing it. Now I can't wait until it actually comes out on DVD. This is an EXCELLENT film. Being that I'm a US Citizen living in Mexico for a few months I see exactly what the film is talking about. It's just a shame that not many people actually know what is going on here. This film could be a cultural phenomenon that could help to change things. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING FILM. Only problem that I had was that J.Lo is trying to act like a stereotypical "gringa" and it's really easy to hear her accent. Other than that, I loved the movie."
Disposable women, disposable society
Kelly Garbato | Kearney, MO USA | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Loosely based on several of the many Ciudad Juárez murders, BORDERTOWN is two parts docudrama/political commentary and two parts suspense/thriller. Though the subject of the film is an important one, the movie does suffer from a few major flaws.

Most likely, you've heard little or nothing about the 15-year serial killing spree(s) in the neighboring Mexican cities of Juárez and Chihuahua. Probably you've read a short article, maybe buried in the back of the "international" section of your local paper, about the latest death toll. Maybe you've seen a few pieces over the years, each giving rise to an eerie sense of déjà vu: "Haven't I read this before? Didn't the police already catch this killer? Surely this is a different case..."

Between 1993 and the present day, at least 400 women, primarily employed in the maquiladoras established along the Mexican/American border, have been found dead. Raped, murdered, strangled, mutilated. Dumped like trash. Another 5,000+ women are reported missing. Most likely they are dead, but their families will never know, can never rest, because there is no outcry, no investigation, no justice. Government corruption, police incompetence, and international indifference have all conspired against justice. After all, these are poor brown women we are talking about. Disposable women in a disposable society.

BORDERTOWN attempts to tell the tales of all these women through the story of one girl, Eva Jimenez, a 16-year-old factory worker who is kidnapped on her way home from work, raped, and buried alive. Left for dead. Though her assailants - two men, gang rapists - thought they killed her, she survives and, with the help of two reporters (played by Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Baderes), tries to bring them to justice.

While I generally enjoyed the movie (as much as you can "enjoy" a movie about femicide), it does tend towards the melodramatic at times. The acting is generally adequate, though Maya Zapata is a standout as Eva. (So much so that I immediately hopped onto Netflix and put all her films in my queue.) Most of the melodrama is due to the script, rather than overacting. There are also a few plot holes, which I won't get into for fear of spoiling the ending. However, one is so large that you'll know it when you see it. (Just in case you don't, a hint: it involves the trial and the immediacy of Eva's testimony.)

Even so, BORDERTOWN is monumental film, in that it addresses an ongoing situation of gross human rights abuses that the mainstream media has largely ignored. Any time you can get A-list stars to sign on to such a project, it's a big f'in deal. And while the film itself isn't as rigorous in detailing the Ciudad Juárez gender-cide as I would prefer - the subplot about Lopez's childhood and her character's relationship with Banderes was distracting at best - it's still a good vehicle for getting the message out, for letting people know what is and isn't happening south of the border. The DVD extras, which include two documentaries ("Exposing the Juarez Murders: The Making of Bordertown" and "La Frontera - The Border"), as well as a "get involved" menu (the first time I've ever seen that on a DVD!) are particularly poignant and compelling. So while it certainly isn't a great movie - maybe a B-/C+ at best - it is still a movie that you, along with your friends and family (and Lou Dobbs, if you can compel him!), should see.

And, after the movie's over, don't forget about these women like the rest of the world. Use the resources provided to learn more, to take action, to get involved. As Eva Canseco explains in "La Frontera - The Border", we're all citizens of the same community; we need to protect one another, to care what happens to our neighbors, to act while we still have the agency to do so. The women raped and murdered, the men tortured into confessing - they could easily be you or I. Human rights abuses are not limited to "developing" or "third world" nations. Read the paper more closely (better yet, a feminist blog or two) and you'll be surprised to see what's happening in your own backyard."
Stunning
aikanae | scottsdale, az | 10/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can't reccomend this film highly enough. See it. It's news you won't see on CNN. I have never liked Lopez, but this movie isn't about her or Banderas. It's also not a typical hollywood movie either.

The central theme never deviates away from the story about a 16 year old sole survivor of an attack and her desire to survive, which means she needs to capture her attackers or they will kill her because she can identify them. The story is very human and a realistic protrayal of how systems and cultures can work against victims without being obvious.

Anyone saying the film is political has discounted the reality and importance of these rapes and murders, now numbering in the thousands within the last few years. No single authority has even attempted to document them all until recently, and that's been through human rights groups. This story should be embarrassing for authorities - on both sides of the border.

There are various subjects explored which might create the circumstances that allow these crimes to continue happening, such as corruption, NAFTA, class, greed, racism, bias, corporations, but they are not conclusive, central or over-dramatized. But even the exploration of these subjects will make this film politically unpopular and even more important to see."