It's hard to tell if Jonas Cuaron's latest film is a graphic rebuttal to Donald Trump's idea of building a bigger wall between Mexico and the United States or if it's an editorial about what some of the good ol' boys living in border states do when they get bored. Is it an actioner or commentary?


It certainly isn't unique. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is cast as a good ol' boy patriot who lives near the Mexican/US border - with a high powered rifle. Ostensibly, he is hunting rabbits on open territory; that's the story he tells a Sheriff who runs across him and his dog in the desert. After explaining to the sheriff that he is fully a ware of the laws, he goes about after his real prey: illegals crossing the desert.


Fortunately for him, not far away, a truck transporting a bunch of illegals into the United States through the desert (presumably Baja Calafornia), breaks down and the passengers have to hoof it. Unfortunately for them they are immediately spotted by Sam and his trusty dog Tracker.

The rest is target practice as Sam begins picking them off one by one since they literally have no place to run. Those that Sam doesn't get, the well trained and blood thirsty Tracker rips into. After a while there are only a couple left, Mosies (Gael Barcia Bernal) and Adela (Alondra Hidalgo); the rest - a dozen or so - are dead.


Now it becomes a predictable game of chess as Sam has trouble keeping up with these last two. The action is pretty decent, but the narrative leaves a lot to be desired.


Cuaron, who also wrote the screenplay, tells us very little about the immigrants. Unlike 2009's "Sin Nombre" which let us get to know the immigrants before and during their trek, we know nothing about Moises and Adela. We don't know anything about any of the immigrants in fact, save that a couple of them were very selfish. And, they got theirs!


If Cuaron is aiming to develop sympathy for Mexican migrants, the film fails miserable in getting us to give a hoot about them. They are merely targets, just like Sam treats them. All that was missing were the targeting bells to ring as he picks them off.


Of course, the other noticable flaw is Sam's shooting. He is highly accurate though he is standing and holding his high-powered rifle with no fixed positioning. Oh well!


"Desierto" is a shallow, albeit amusing quasi-thriller that might be an editorial for illegal immigration or against hunting them down. Definitely a film that Donald Trump would have to explain.   -- GEOFF BURTON