Watch This: The drug war divides friendly border towns in an elegiac documentary
Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This month: The A.V. Club atones for its sins of omission, recommending the best movies of the year that we didn’t review.
In the documentaries 45365 and Tchoupitoulas, filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross revived the original spirit of 1960s-style direct cinema, combining fly-on-the-wall observation with impressionistic explorations of communities. In their Western, the “watch and see” approach coincides with an actual story, which unfolded somewhat unexpectedly during the brothers’ shoot. Set in Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Coahuila—connected border towns that for decades have held themselves up as a model of friendly U.S./Mexico relations—Western starts out as a portrait of daily life among the two cities’ hard-working cattlemen and genial lawmen. But as the drug cartels begin to encroach in Coahuila, heightened security protocols effectively …