Review: Upon Entry (SXSW 2023)

Title: Upon Entry
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vasquez
Starring: Alberto Ammann, Bruna Cusí, Laura Gomez
Runtime:  1 hr 14 mins

What It Is: When Diego (Ammann), a native Venezuelan and his Spanish girlfriend and Elena (Cusí) plan a move to the United States from their home in Spain. When they are ready to board they are stopped by TSA and National Security. As the couple are detained they are heavily questioned about both their intentions and reasoning for coming to the United States. When some unexpected events from Diego’s past comes back to haunt them in this dire situation it’ll change everything about them.

What We Think: This is quite suspenseful film. Cusí and Ammann have contradictory chemistry that is so good. They don’t feel like a loving couple, and that because the whole time you’re unsure of why. This doesn’t become clear until later why that is. There are some truly tense moments here but the film does a great job of highlighting two different things. First the struggle and stress immigrants have to go through in order to simply come here legally… “the right way” on a plane. It also highlights the advent horror of not truly knowing someone you thought you knew…intimately.

Our Grade: B-, This is a VERY intriguing film that’s expertly put together the dual directors seem to be working with one brain and what they’ve put together is a cohesive and brilliant piece. Solid performances led by competent direction make for a really good film and one that I didn’t think I’d enjoy as much as I did. I think it’s a fairly personal journey, especially if, like my family you know someone that migrated. They may see their struggle in these characters. It works at a high level even if that isn’t your origin story.