A nightmare for the Lou Dobbs crowd, Walter Doehner’s “Teo’s Journey” traces a lad’s uphill effort to reunite with his father as they’re illegally crossing the Mexican-U.S. border. Far more realistic and less feel-good than “Under the Same Moon,” pic nevertheless disappoints as a dramatization of the stresses and horrors experienced by migrants. Given its considerable topicality, Doehner’s third film could easily cross into the U.S. market, though fans of Damian Alcazar, arguably Mexico’s most interesting and versatile movie star, will be let down by his brief appearance.
Raised by his uncle in Oaxaca while father Wenceslao (Alcazar) is in jail, Teo (Erick Caneta Guerrero, burdened with too large a role) sees his life turned upside down when Wenceslao shows up to take him to El Norte. The boy is naturally reluctant, but rather than delve into the complications of reuniting with one’s father for a life-endangering adventure, pic opts to dispose of Wenceslao and focus on how Teo survives a thief circle’s ambush and finds a new friend in Chuy (Andres Marquez), a young “coyote” guide who helps exact some revenge against the thieves.