"Jumping fences takes initiative; I wouldn't be shocked if you learned something." So says a friend to unemployed Bruno (scripter Carmine Famiglietti) when the suggestion to hire a Mexican day-laborer to assist with freelance construction work is met with skepticism. Director Matthew Bonifacio proceeds to color inside the lines of this forecast via lighthearted illustrations of developing camaraderie between the Italian-American and his soon-to-be amigo, Ignacio (Raul Castillo), in Amexicano. In terms of storyline, think The Visitor—except with an embrace of the platitudinous pitfalls that Thomas McCarthy's summer sleeper hit deftly avoids. From its sentimental score to a Manichean setup between good and evil respectively manifest in Ignacio and Diego (Manny Perez as the lazy, scheming, knife-wielding Latino embodiment of Republican nightmares), Amexicano's attempts to humanize the issue of illegal immigration often feel more melodramatic than moving. But in its last act, the narrative veers intriguingly into uncharted territory—Bruno begins to court day gigs with Ignacio on the same corner in Queens where he first picked him up—before moving back on course when the threat of deportation presents itself, necessitating an abrupt tonal shift that culminates in a tableau that seems to sigh in rumination upon a lost America, land of immigrants.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful