A plot concept doesn’t necessarily need to be unique, to still be able to provide solid entertainment. Jesse Harris’ “Borrego” stars Lucy Hale as a botanist working in a small Southwest desert town who crosses paths with a rookie drug smuggler when his plane crashes. She’s kidnapped and forced to escort this drug mule across the rugged terrain to his location. It’s a plot we’ve seen before, but the situational tension is plenty ripe for creating suspenseful cinema when done right and with some creative ambition applied.
The question is. Does “Borrego” accomplish this? The short answer would be yes, at times. I honestly was hoping for, but not expecting this film to command my attention. However, it was more enjoyable than I was expecting. It does have some flaws. The middle act was entirely too long for the meat of the storyline it wanted to tell. I understand the purpose, but it could’ve been tightened up to increase the pace a bit. This would have allowed more of a connection to the stress put on the main character.
Because overall, I enjoyed Hale’s performance and the effort she brought to the role. I’m familiar with seeing her in plug-n-play Blumhouse horror romps, and while this role wasn’t necessarily a cut above the rest. Hale did bring a grounded, natural vibe to the character so I was able to invest in her enough to have that curiosity in how the story would end for her. Leynar Gomez was solid for the needs of his role as well. He was able to bring an authenticity to his rapport with Hale to fit the scenario of their pairing. And had the writing given them more to work with their subplot could’ve been much more impactful than it already was.
As mentioned, the wrong-place-wrong-time plot, the border smuggling, the character predicaments, all are enough to entertain despite feeling a bit familiar in the genre. There are lulls in the middle of the movie as the story circles around groups of characters to frame their impending meeting. The forward movement does lag in places given as the viewer you can already sense where things are going. So admittedly there were places where I was getting a little bored and hoping things would pick up and get going.
For the most part things do get going just in time. I enjoyed the finale of this film, and a couple of the tweaks between the characters it adds to this genre. It explores the notion that despite these characters’ differences. They’re all forced into things for their own reasons. Opportunities in life vary depending on the life you are placed in, and getting out of that, and into something that can lead to a better future will come in many different forms. This story flirts a bit with that at a surface level, yet it’s just enough to create some interesting story layers in the final act that I appreciated.
“Borrego” isn’t a groundbreaking film. But it’s a serviceable journey across the California desert that layers a suitable amount of substance to warrant a one-time watch. The acting overall is pretty good, the cast fills out the characters nicely, and the natural backdrops and settings are a decent playground for this story. It progresses like many others, and it may not be extremely memorable, but while watching it can certainly lure you in.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.