“Bordertown” Essay

“Bordertown” Essay

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In the film “Bordertown”, the protagonist, Johnny Ramirez ultimately finds solace, happiness and satisfaction in the aftermath of his own failure. If one were to believe the notion that we are all at a fixed station in both life and society, then the Mexican protagonist’s ambitions and their disastrous outcomes would only serve to bolster this opinion. This is, however, what the film “Bordertown” attempts to convey to its audience. As Johnny Ramirez ambitiously sets out, attempting to acquire material success, in the world outside of his neighborhood, he finds only offers of wickedness and corruption. His final retreat back into his barrio is where he finds goodness and love. This film, then, suggests that not only should Ramirez not have bothered in his undertaking, but that any venture outside of one’s own “station” or “place” would put that person out of his or her natural element. The results of this can be dangerous or disastrous. The film’s message is clear: Stay where you belong.
The protagonist is to find disappointment and failure in all his pursuits. “Bordertown” opens with a law school commencement where Johnny is introduced as a “tough kid” who came out of the barrio and overcame many obstacles to successfully graduate from law school. Here, we are also introduced to Johnny’s over- affectionate, dim- witted mother and his local parish priest. Together, they act as his support group and often discourage his ambitions.
Johnny’s experience as an attorney falls far short of being the legal crusader that he envisioned for himself. Rather, it is quite short-lived . His legal career ends abruptly when his unpreparedness for an easy trial against a wealthy white woman causes him to lose the case for his client. Upon his hu...

... middle of paper ...

...ays, "You belong to a different tribe, savage. The death of this character illustrates yet another grave misfortune in Johnny's trek of ambition.
It is thus in the wake o f such event s that the protagonist sells the casino and returns to live with his mother. The closing scenes show Johnny's return, joyously reunited with his mother and the parish priest. It is when the story reaches resolution that the film delivers its message more plainly than ever. Upon his return, Johnny Ramirez is all too happy to realize that he is now home, “where he belongs…with his people”. Ironically, the protagonist, now devoid of everything, is shown to be happier now that he has retreated to his barrio. The f film’s happy ending is, therefore, that Johnny has l-earned his lesson and is happy to be back in his lowly station. He now knows his place. Maybe ignorance is bliss after all.

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