In the vast landscape of Netflix’s non-English films, one riveting thriller, starring The Motorcycle Diaries and Y tu mamá también heartthrob, Gael García Bernal, has emerged as quite a sensation.
Desierto, directed by the talented Alfonso Cuarón’s son, Jonás Cuarón, has earned its place at the fifth spot worldwide with 1.7million hours viewed. It takes audiences on a journey through the unforgiving terrains of the Mexican border, with Bernal at the helm.
Directed by Jonás Cuarón, who co-wrote the script for the 2015 space venture Gravity, Desierto brings an intense story to the screen. The film unfolds against the backdrop of the harsh and unforgiving Mexican desert, where a group of undocumented immigrants find themselves in a desperate struggle for survival.
Bernal leads the cast as Moises, a character thrust into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game. The film follows Moises and his fellow travellers as they face not only the treacherous conditions of the desert but also the cold-blooded pursuit of a gun-wielding vigilante, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, determined to enforce his own brand of justice.
Speaking to Vulture about Morgan’s character Sam, Bernal had minced no words, “He’s a manifestation of the horror of hate speech. I think that’s what he is. He is the monster in the equation of how migration is being talked about. The monster is the hate narrative that exists. The heroes are the migrants.”
Cuarón, combined with Bernal and the rest of the team behind Desierto, used their platform of privilege to bring awareness to the plight of immigrants who put their lives at immense risk for a shot at a better future for themselves and the next generations. Bernal used his platform during the film’s promotions to champion immigrant rights and call out Trump’s remarks about Mexicans “closed-minded and fucking ignorant.”
The film might be overly simplistic, but Desierto attempted a visceral exploration of the human spirit and the lengths individuals will go to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges at a time when anti-immigration sentiment was hitting its peak in America.
You can watch Desierto on Netflix and catch the trailer here: