Thursday, October 4, 2012
|7:00 p.m.||Highway Patrolman|
Alex Cox (U.S./Mexico, 1991)
In Person/Alex Cox
(El patrullero). Looking back, Highway Patrolman seems almost innocent in its take on Mexico’s narco-trafficking. We’ve come a long way from the lone gun-toting smugglers of yesteryear to the mechanized machinery of today’s cartels. But Cox’s bleak coming-of-age tale still takes us to where the rubber meets the road. Along with his best pal Anibal (Bruno Bichir), Pedro (Roberto Sosa), a Candide-like naïf of unending optimism, enrolls in the National Highway Patrol Academy. Together they are begrudgingly indoctrinated into the Patrol’s corrupt credo: “Whenever you pull someone over, they are guilty,” says the bullying sergeant. Pedro’s first assignment is Mexico’s desolate north where he suffers the monotony of deserted highways. Soon he faces a moral crisis as petty payoffs, favoritism, and undue quotas erode his idealism. When he’s not exchanging lead with drug mules or racing to accidents to plunder the victims, Pedro tries to salvage Maribel (Vanessa Bauche), an adolescent prostitute whose lurid life is unraveling. Handled with an almost documentary feel, Highway Patrolman is a straight-from-the-hip study of a young man who yearns for the noble when everything around him is grubby and corrupt. In the end, he has two choices: his way, or the highway.
• Written by Lorenzo O’Brien. Photographed by Miguel Garzón. With Roberto Sosa, Bruno Bichir, Vanessa Bauche, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez. (104 mins, In Spanish with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From the filmmaker)