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Movie review: 'Laredoans Speak: Voices on Immigration'

This one-note chorus largely amounts to a recapping of the plight of undocumented and would-be immigrants through generic emotional appeals and familiar calls to action.

November 18, 2011|By Mindy Farabee
  • Not much effort is made to really delve into tricky issues  worker exploitation for one is given quite the gloss.
Not much effort is made to really delve into tricky issues worker exploitation…

Consisting mainly of static talking heads, adequately miked and functionally shot, the decidedly low-fi documentary "Laredoans Speak: Voices on Immigration" misses opportunities to add much substance to the debate over immigration reform. Instead, it strings together the views of a few law enforcement officials, legal experts, agriculture industry representatives, politicians, one "coyote," or human smuggler, and others hailing from the south Texas town of Laredo.

This one-note chorus largely amounts to a recapping of the plight of undocumented and would-be immigrants through generic emotional appeals and familiar calls to action. Nobody here seems too clear on the specifics of a solution, though subjects occasionally put forth the notion of "some sort of" guest worker program.

Granted, no matter how you phrase it, the cost of doing nothing remains unappealing, and the film does slip in interesting statistics, touching, for instance, on workforce demographics and the loopy economics of that fence idea. But not much effort is made to really delve into tricky issues — worker exploitation for one is given quite the gloss.


"Laredoans Speak: Voices on Immigration." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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