Border Patrol Drama "Coyote" An Immensely Entertaining Ride
Sun, 19 Oct 2008
Anthony Jones - Celebrity News Service Contributor

Coyote ( *** 1/2 )

94 Minutes

Opening Night Film Selection, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Coyote, from director/co-writer/star Brian Petersen, is a taut, engaging drama about two young Americans who begin smuggling Mexicans across the border and into the United States for profit. When we first meet Steve (Petersen), he's a 31-year-old retiree frpm Arizona who seems to have made his bank on the internet. When a friend's son is deported Mexico, him and his friend J (Brett Spackman, who also co-wrote the film) figure out a plan to smuggle him back in to the United States by building a compartment in the truck where they can hide the boy. After the successful run, Steve and J begin to cultivate plans to smuggle more people in for profit. Things become more and more dangerous as their risky new business starts to unravel.

From the very beginning, Coyote moves at a rapid pace, and once the money starts piling in and the main characters continue to beat the system, you're in for an immensely entertaining ride. Coyote is part comedy, part drama and by the end, part thriller, and the film is equally effective at pulling elements from each genre. Coyote's camerawork has a raw feel that pulls you in even closer to the action, but never at the expense of some imaginative cinematography. Some shots alone will stay with you after the movie's over.

Petersen and Spackman completely embody the characters and their chemistry helps bring the theme of friendship and loyalty to the forefront. The female support of Marina Valle, as J's Mexican love interest, and Carley Adams as Steve's troubled fiance do their best with their roles. Valle is understated and natural, while Adams comes off as sweet and likable but for the most part has a pretty simplified role.

Though the character of Steve's motivations are never completely clear (Is he really just trying to help mexicans? Is it the easy money? Is it boredom?), it's the realness of the acting and the script that makes Coyote a stirring, compelling production.

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