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STUDIO: Genius Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
• Behind the scenes featurette
• Deleted scenes
• Original theatrical trailer
It’s a documentary that attempts to show all sides of the political and social conflict over border security. It just shows some more than the others.
Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Lupe Moreno, Enrique Morones, Teri March and Federal Agent Jose Maheda
The fight over what the United States should do with its borders is one that has raged long and hard over the years and shows no signs of slowing down. As militia groups like the Minutemen spring up and gigantic Latino protests occur in cities across America, people are becoming more divided and angry over illegal aliens and their rights.
Border War attempts to show many different facets of this growing social problem. The film features interviews with a congressman dead set on deporting illegals and beefing up border security, a federal agent tasked with defending the leaky borders, a woman whose husband was murdered by an illegal alien and several more.
A documentary takes you behind the scenes when it comes to a complicated social issue. It takes you inside the offices of powerful individuals and into the homes of people with tragic stories. Now it’s time to get really deep and go behind the scenes of the behind the scene documentary with some featurettes!
Truth be told, a behind the scenes look at a documentary is a welcome feature. It allows the viewer to see how the shots were set up, how the people being interviewed were selected and it makes the entire process more transparent. That’s an important feature for a documentary as politically charged as this one, because many people are bound to accuse the filmmakers of framing things in a light designed to sway the audience.
Other special features include deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. The deleted scenes mostly consist of extended interviews and footage of illegal aliens crossing various spots in the border. They’re all interesting but obviously expendable when it came down to trimming the feature running time.
Border War is a documentary that tries hard to present many different sides of a complex issue, but in doing so often spreads itself too thin. Entire documentaries could be created focusing on some of the many different subjects it covers.
For instance, one of the stories featured throughout the film involves a sheriff being killed by a convicted felon who then flees back to Mexico for safety. It’s certainly a topic relevant for inclusion considering the felon has been able to enter and exit the country as he pleased several times, but the issues of extradition and the complications of dealing with foreign governments when it comes to convicting criminals is an issue so tricky and complex it can hardly be explored in full here.
Still, the film should be commended for its dedication to present this conflict as something much more than a simple black and white issue. It focuses on the congressional and political issues involved with border security, the human rights issues involving human trafficking, the time and money that goes into border patrol and how the people tasked with stopping illegals from entering the country are just plain overwhelmed.
The only big shortcoming of the film comes in how much it features people on the side of the illegal aliens. It frequently shows the harsh conditions these people face when they attempt to cross the border and the sometimes sub-human treatment they receive, but no focus is placed on the conditions in Mexico that make so many people there want to leave. No focus is placed on immigration reform either and in the end it feels like the deck is stacked when it comes to equal time in this film.
It’s unlikely to change your stance on the issue if you’re already dead set in your opinion, but Border War can at least show you the viewpoints of people on the other side of the conflict and provide an up close and human look at the individuals affected the most by illegal immigration.