More smoldering glances than bullets are exchanged in the sweaty, Mexican siege movie "In the Middle of Nowhere." First-time helmer Hugo Rodriguez keeps the tension humming and cleverly sustains a taut if familiar atmosphere thick with possibilities. He leaves too many of them underexplored for the result to make much of a mark commercially. But the slick pic's watchable, sharply directed cast could help open inroads into vid markets.

More smoldering glances than bullets are exchanged in the sweaty, Mexican siege movie “In the Middle of Nowhere.” First-time helmer Hugo Rodriguez keeps the tension humming and cleverly sustains a taut if familiar atmosphere thick with possibilities. He leaves too many of them underexplored for the result to make much of a mark commercially. But the slick pic’s watchable, sharply directed cast could help open inroads into vid markets.

A desert rose (Blanca Guerra) and her husband (Manuel Ojeda), an ex-trade unionist with a spotty past, run a truck stop miles from nowhere. Dust-bowl ennui and minor marital friction are interrupted when a fugitive trio turns up — a gravely wounded criminal (Guillermo Garcia Cantu), his dangerously sexy wife (Gabriela Roel) and his trigger-happy, none-too-smart brother (Emilio Cortes). With no getaway car handy, banditos and hostages settle in for the day.

While the claustrophobic situation slow-burns to an inevitable (but surprisingly low-voltage) gun-slinging conclusion, the superior thesps continually seem poised to break out of their relatively stock characterizations.

But despite some promisingly edgy confrontations — such as one between the stoical Guerra and tough enchilada Roel — Rodriguez and co-scripter Marina Stavenhagen never veer off at the psychological turning points on offer.

B’WAY TRYOUT

Legit

(MEXICAN)

Production

A Hugo Rodriguez/Ladron de Besos SA de CV/Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia production. Directed by Hugo Rodriguez. Screenplay, Rodriguez, Marina Stavenhagen. Camera (color), Guillermo Granillo; editor, Rodriguez; music, Eduardo Gamboa; art direction, Gloria Carrasco; sound, Juan Carlos Prieto, Nerio Barberis. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (competing), Greece, Nov. 8, 1993. (Also in Turin Young Cinema fest.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Joaquin ... Manuel Ojeda Susana ... Blanca Guerra Raul ... Guillermo Garcia Cantu Claudia ... Gabriela Roel Ernesto ... Emilio Cortes Ramon ... Alonso Echanove Alejandro ... Ignacio Guadalupe
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