I immediately began to worry about the character, and I hated to see her so vulnerable and alone. When she comes across Makana’s character, Silver, there’s an obvious and understandable distrust. Zoe is established so perfectly that you can quickly put yourself in her shoes. You want to trust Silver because she’s so likable and easygoing, but there’s something about her that just won’t let you commit to that trust. You experience what Zoe experiences and that relatability at such a high and masterful level is rare.
As the two become closer, Silver offers to take Zoe across the border despite the fact that Zoe is apparently on the run from someone or something. As the duo travels further south, Zoe is continually looking over her shoulder and experiencing night terrors and PTSD flashbacks. Zoe and Silver bond as friends (possibly more) and live like a couple of outlaws on the run, doing some morally questionable things like stealing gas from a rude and unhelpful human piece of garbage, and possibly performing minor acts of prostitution with a random trucker. It’s all in the name of getting just a few miles further down the road.
“…sets itself apart from the rest with its beautiful imagery and well-written characters.”
The film wonderfully develops Zoe and Silver’s relationship in a realistic and well-paced way. As Zoe begins to open up to Silver, she shares more about the circumstances that led her to live on the streets and risking her life to try and get to Mexico alone. The two leads are compelling and delightful, and it’s entertaining to ride along with them as they head to their destination. There aren’t a lot of other characters they encounter along the way, so it was crucial for these two actors to have tremendous chemistry. Watson and Makana pull off that chemistry almost flawlessly.
One criticism I do have with the movie is that throughout Zoe’s adventure you’re given brief visual glimpses of why Zoe is the way that she is, and these flashbacks are weak and cliché. It would have been much more useful to let the actress physically show the emotional toll her situation has on her. The old adage ‘show, don’t tell’ definitely applies in this instance. I know that the flashbacks are there to show the audience exactly what happened to Zoe that has her on edge and suffering night terrors, but the way it’s shown in the film feels a little too obvious.