By Gregory Crofton
Making WESTERN was a noble effort by Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross (45365 and TCHOUPITOULAS), two filmmaking brothers on a quest to stretch the boundaries of non-fiction filmmaking. But unlike 45365, a romantic and beautifully shot documentary about their hometown in Ohio — one of my favorite films — WESTERN delivers some cinematic moments yet lacks truly interesting characters and features vague storylines, a combination that left me sleepy.
Still there is some marvelous filmmaking to admire in this documentary, as the Ross Brothers spent a year on location on the U.S.- Mexican border. They trained their cameras on Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico, two towns connected by a bridge. It was a place where residents co-existed in harmony. But drug-related violence disrupts these communities, causing the U.S. government to become skittish enough to put up a very expensive fence, which upends the lives of Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster and cattleman Martin Wall.
Below watch a Sundance interview with the Ross brothers.
Below watch a BRING YOUR OWN DOC episode about the brothers’ new film.