Review: ‘No Turning Back’

The plight of an illegal Honduran immigrant and his child on the run from the law in SoCal drives "No Turning Back," a competently made but unconvincing melodrama.

The plight of an illegal Honduran immigrant and his child on the run from the law in SoCal drives “No Turning Back,” a competently made but unconvincing melodrama. With a cast of TV thesps and a straightforward, not particularly suspenseful presentation, debut feature for writer-director-producer-star Jesus Nabot (who shares helming and script credit with Julia Montejo) is best suited for broadcast slots; multihyphenate’s following from two popular past Venezuelan telenovelas could help international sales.

Having lost his pregnant wife to Hurricane Mitch, lit professor Pablo Hernandez (Nabot) tries to start over as a day laborer in Oceanside, Calif., with 6-year-old daughter Cristina (Chelsea Rendon). But he accidentally kills a child who’s run into his borrowed truck’s path; fearing deportation or worse, he flees. Father and tyke improbably stay one step ahead of grudge-bearing LAPD detective Bryant (Vernee Watson Johnson) yet can’t seem to shake the annoying punkette videographer (Lindsay Price) who sees their “story” as a career gold mine. Earnest but formulaic drama is lent some gravitas by Nebot’s solid perf. But other characters are one-note or unsympathetic, with script too dependent on coincidental path-crossings.

No Turning Back

Production

A Zokalo Entertainment production in association with Cartel. Produced by Jesus Nebot. Executive producers, Eduardo Campoy, Nebot. Co-executive producer, Soledad Fernandez. Directed, written by Jesus Nebot, Julia Montejo.

Crew

Camera (color), Ian Fox; editors, Irene Blecua, Andrea Zondler; music, Steven Chesne; production designer, Gail Mosley. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Cinema), Aug. 26, 2001. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Jesus Nebot, Chelsea Rendon, Lindsay Price, Vernee Watson Johnson, Susan Haskell, Robert Vestal, Paul Ganus, Joe Estevez.
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