There is perhaps no better tagline for a film titled Tejano than “Made in Texas by Tejanos.” Directed and produced by David Blue Garcia, shot entirely on the border of Texas and in Nuevo Progreso Mexico, and featuring an all-bilingual cast full of Texan natives, this Tex-Mex neo-noir follows Javi (Patrick Mackie), a South Texas farmhand who lives and works with his grandfather, Arturo (Roland Hector Uribe). Javi dreams of leaving the border with his Mexican girlfriend (Mayra Leal) but when his grandfather becomes ill, Javi, desperately turns to a Mexican cartel to make some quick cash. The drama chronicles his harrowing journey in which Javi first swims across the Rio Grande River (with a not-at-all suspicious cast on his arm), evades the border patrol and then faces the border wall, only to find that the cartel has different plans for him.
In its official trailer, this action-packed movie shows the many faces of the border towns at the heart of Javi’s life: the wide-open farmland spaces, the sunlit intimate bedroom in Matamoros, the lurid cartel headquarters. With characters that feel immediately familiar — including Gloria, a terrifying cartel matriarch (Emma Perez-Trevino) — the border actioner turns contemporary political talking points into a pulse-pounding, bullet-ridden thriller. While the flick has echoes of Robert Rodriguez it also feels like a Tex-Mex version of dark action comedies like In Bruges, where desperate men are driven to desperate measures to survive amidst a bloody environment. “I set Tejano in the Rio Grande Valley, along the Mexico-U.S. border where I was born,” Garcia noted. “The film touches on many of the issues that affect South Texas, including the border wall, the drug trade, cartel violence, immigration laws and health care. Tejano does not set out to take political sides but instead to show how these issues affect the day-to-day lives of its characters and influence their choices.”
Check out the full trailer below and see if you can survive seeing how it is Javi’s arm gets broken. Spoiler alert: it’s no accident.
Tejano is now available on digital platforms and on DVD.