It’s been a bad day in a difficult job for US Border Patrol officer Angel Waters, unheeded as he tried to warn off an immigrant crossing at a dangerous river, watching helplessly as the man was swept away by the current, astonished after finding what he thought was a dead body downriver when the man revived, arriving home late that evening after dropping him off for medical attention to find his wife Hannah in their kitchen with a stranger.

Arriving clutching a crumpled photo of Angel’s late mother as a young woman, could this frail old man be the father who vanished before he was born? Any investigation will have to wait when Angel receives a call from the station, his colleague Salomé Vercruz in a state of shock and distress; while processing the migrant he became violent and was shot dead by Ray Hitchcock, an officer who already has a record concerning his use of excessive force.

Set on the US/Mexico border and filmed in Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, Deadland is a tale of small town tragedies with big consequences for Angel (Snowpiercer’s Robert Urbina), determined to protect his colleagues from the consequences of an accident, a badly handled incident with a man who doesn’t even have a confirmed identity, deciding they should dispose of the body together rather than make a report which will end their careers.

A modern Western which takes a turn down the old dirt road to the ghost town of the Weird West, Deadland is the directorial debut of Lance Larson, focusing on the characters and the dilemma of their situation with an ensemble convincing in their anger and frustration, compromised and with dwindling hope but still trying to do the right thing in an impossible situation complicated by circumstances increasingly unbelievable.

Already struggling with what they have done and the risk to their familial responsibilities, Angel and Hannah (Kendal Rae) with a baby on the way and Salomé (Julieth Restrepo) taking care of her elderly mother, alone, drunk and increasingly paranoid in his cheap motel room Ray (McCaul Lombardi) is the weak link, haunted by a dead man (In Time’s Luis Chávez) who won’t stay in his unmarked grave, that his return has been witnessed by all three who buried him no comfort.

Mixing police thriller, supernatural morality play and a metaphysical examination of borders, the blurred lines between nations, right and wrong and life and death, while much of the film is successful the script from Larson and Jas Shelton struggles with the transition as it nears its end, trying to pull together into something coherent but fumbling with a clumsy explanation where it might have been more satisfying to keep the answers ambiguously lost in the dust of the desert.

Deadland will be available on digital download from Monday 24th June



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