“No Man’s Land” deliverers a strong message of racial empathy amongst an exasperating build-up

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Promotional Material Courtesy of Bluegrass Pictures Margate House Films and IFC Films

Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn) overcome with anguish as he faces his actions at the funeral of the young boy that he killed.

“No Man’s Land” released Jan. 22, 2021, takes an unconventional approach to address the immigration controversy prevalent along the Texas-Mexico border. Available on popular platforms Youtube and Amazon Prime, the film looks at the family lives of immigrants and Texans. It shows their varied perspectives regarding crossing the border and the social aspects that form prejudices around immigrants and South America.

“No Man’s Land” follows the convoluted journey of Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn) as he grows up on a property a stretch of river away from Mexico. Greer finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a fatal altercation with a family of immigrants passing through his family’s property. In a state of bemusement, Greer flees from the punishment that he faces in Texas, across the Rio Grande, and into Mexico. His xenophobic point of view surrounding immigrants is stripped as he is met with kindness in a country that doesn’t resemble the dilapidated wasteland depicted by his acquaintances in Texas. 

Even though the plot contains an admirable message, the way it is conveyed is arduous and ultimately flawed. Within the first 30 minutes of the movie the main plot is displayed with the murder of Fernando (Alessio Valentini), leaving the next 84 minutes to feature Greer in Mexico with everything working seamlessly, providing a fake “Hollywood” feel to the film. While Greer discovers Mexico’s true sophistication and culture, the plot strays from the Western run-away aspect of the plot and shifts to be more about enlightenment and the skewed social adaptations of Mexican culture. This plot change inevitably takes away from the message of the movie making it seem like a frivolous western that Clint Eastwood would star in rather than an analytical film teaching racial empathy.

Outside of the plot, the acting and writing is an area in which the movie could be revised. The addition of preeminent names such as George Lopez (Ramizerze) and Andie MacDowell (Monica Greer) doesn’t add anticipation to the movie. Instead, the actors seem out of place with few lines and a weak sense of meaning in the plot. 

Furthermore, the film’s writing is too oblivious. Instead of showing feeling and emotion through action like most sufficient filmmakers, the writers use candid cliches and one-liners to convey the moral of the film. “No Man’s Land” had all of the right concepts, however, they are lost in translation. 

A commendable aspect of the film is the soundtrack. Whether the scene is sincere, dramatic, or light-hearted there is a track behind it that provides a perfect feeling to match the sensations that the scenes convey. The music makes up for what the script lacks, providing the correct emotions for a scene, even when the writing fails to do so. 

In the end, the film is acceptable. The strong moral backings of the plot, the cohesive soundtracks, and the display of undeniable issues shape “No Man’s Land” to be an enjoyable watch. Overall, I give the movie a four out of five stars.

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