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The Gatekeeper's view from the border

Review by Orlando Sepúlveda | August 22, 2003 | Page 11

The Gatekeeper, written and directed by John Carlos Frey, starring Michelle Agnew, Anne Betancourt and Joel Brooks.

IN THE new independent movie The Gatekeeper, Adam Fields (played by John Carlos Frey, who also wrote, produced and directed the film) is an immigrant-hating guard for the border patrol.

Ashamed of his Mexican-American heritage, he is part of an anti-immigration vigilante group lead by a racist radio-show host. The group decides to infiltrate a smuggling operation and set it up to be intercepted by the vigilante group to expose the extent of the "Mexican invasion."

But their scheme doesn't work out as planned. Instead of being arrested by vigilantes, Fields and the rest of the smuggled group end up in indentured servitude for an amphetamine producer.

The experience, of course, tests his "Mexicans-are-taking-over-America" theories. But even more importantly, The Gatekeeper confronts the audience with immigrants' cruel reality of abuse and death. Frey said recently after a screening in a Chicago theater, "This is not happening in Iraq or Afghanistan. This is going right here in the United States."

Despite the passive role it bestows Mexicans characters and the opportunities it misses to really discuss the politics of immigration, The Gatekeeper proves totally successful in uncovering the senselessness of the border. The Gatekeeper makes a powerful argument against the idea that the border is being violated by immigrants, but that rather it is the immigrants who are victimized by the border, its coyotes, border patrol and vigilantes.

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