The River and the Wall

Release Date:May 2, 2019
Review Date:May 12, 2019
Reviewer:Blake Leath
Genre(s):Documentary/Docudrama

It's a very interesting premise: "The River and the Wall follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1,200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a wall on the natural environment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more populated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters."

There are a couple somewhat moving [human] moments, but on the whole it feels more like a naive group of twenty-somethings river rafting over gap year. That, of course, is neither the reality nor the intent, but it's sometimes the vibe.

More accurately, their naivete is no greater than many politicians' ignorance on the issue, which becomes wildly clear as we observe the tricky realities of dividing/partitioning biological ecosystems, habitats, and bat/bird/butterfly sanctuaries, sure, but especially when federal lawmakers describe their plans to snatch one million Texas acres from ranchers and farmers along the Rio Grande via eminent domain.

"Not gonna happen," 'Dana Carvey Bush' would say, especially with these flags flying proudly over The Great State of Texas:

 

The legal/land issues alone (plus geography/topography/remoteness/inaccessibility) make a complete border wall a non-starter. Moreover, where there is land, there is often money (and powerful political interests and a coterie of well-paid lobbyists), and I don't see hundreds of Texas landowners going down without a unified, protracted legal fight and perhaps more than a few Ruby Ridge sorta sieges...to say nothing of the wrongheadedness of an actual physical barrier and its inability to keep ANYONE out, least of all those who have everything to gain by making it in, and their livelihood and/or actual life to lose by backtracking, retreating, or leaping from the proverbial frying pan of the lottery-like U.S. immigration system into the fires of civil unrest back home. 

Tilting at Windmills or Delusional Campaign Rhetoric would be more accurate film titles.

After a couple hours, I'm more convinced than ever before that a 1,200 mile wall will not happen in my lifetime, nor should it.

There are better solutions to the problems (and opportunities!) at hand, and the sooner THEY are pursued, the less time, energy, and money we'll all squander as taxpayers pursuing the construction of pipe dreams, castles in the sky, roads leading nowhere, and [next-level stupid] "anti-climb fencing." It would be so funny if it weren't so gosh-darn insane.