Review: The Border
Blu-ray: The Border (1982)
Charlie Smith (Jack Nicholson) is a hard working U.S. border patrol agent who is finding it financially difficult to make ends meet. This is compounded by his wife Marcy (Valerie Perrine), whose insistence to move from Los Angeles into a new house in Texas and constantly spend money on furnishings and accessories, leaves Charlie struggling even more.
Charlie’s next door neighbour and fellow border patrol agent Cat (Harvey Keitel) offers to help him get more cash by bringing him in on an illegal scheme exploiting Mexican workers. At first hesitant about joining, his financial situation plummets to such a low that he begrudgingly decides to get in on the action. Little does know that lives are cheap and expendable, and only the intervention of an unexpected person into his life can lead to redemption.
The Border showcases Nicholson at his best. Restrained and brooding, his mental anguish is observed through subtle facial expressions, restrained body language and the tone of voice of a weary and tired man. This is very much different from the hyper-active Nicholson performances that would become a trademark of his later work.
Director Tony Richardson captures the hot arid landscape perfectly. Each character sweating through either the unrelenting sun beating down upon them, or, as in the case of Charlie Smith, also sweating due to the mounting pressures put upon him by family and colleagues.
Kudos must go to Elpidia Carrillo, whose performance as Maria is captivating, especially as she only has limited screen time and only about 5 lines of dialogue…all of which are in Spanish. You are immediately drawn into her plight and care for her character and the ultimate outcome of her storyline.
Once again Powerhouse Films and their Indicator series of releases unleash a classic of cinema onto Blu-ray, and one which would grace anyones movie collection.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with critic and film historian Nick Pinkerton
• The Guardian/NFT Tribute to Tony Richardson (1992, 58 mins): archival audio recording of an event chaired by Sight & Sound editor Philip Dodd, featuring Lindsay Anderson, Kevin Brownlow, Jocelyn Herbert, Vanessa Redgrave, Karel Reisz and Natasha Richardson, each sharing their memories of Tony Richardson
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet with a new essay by author Scott Harrison, Tony Richardson on The Border, screenwriter Walon Green on Jack Nicholson and The Border, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
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