A second level is being built atop a pre-existing freeway in Mexico City. This thing is huge and several workers risk their lives to speeding traffic, large holes in the ground and the obvious threat of falling off just to get it built. Juan Carlos Ruffo’s documentary “In the Pit” captures the building of the freeway as well as the lives of the people working on it. The problem is, the lives of the people aren’t all that interesting and the freeway being built isn’t either.
I like the idea of getting to know the faceless workers who strive to build roads, bridges and highways. These people work hard and relentlessly the world over. Also, the laws to protect workers and keep them safe are, shall we say, a tad more relaxed in Mexico. However once we start getting to know these men, we discover they epitomize the working everyman and their opinions just aren’t that intriguing. They work hard, go home, relax and do it al over again. Ruffo gets interviews with these men on such subjects as their family life and their views on politics but, so what. The most interesting interview is done with a worker who freely admits he sometimes has to slap his wife around when he can’t take it any more. Other than that, the workers tow the company line in terms of governmental and work issues.
It’s no small feat that this freeway is getting built as it seems like everything in Mexico is done by hand. We see crew loading rebar up to the overpass by tying rope around it and pulling. They fasten it with hand tools. Yet after 45 minutes of seeing this hard work, we get the point. Maybe it was the conventional way this film was shot or maybe it was the hum-drum characters that were interviewed, but it feels like “In the Pit” should either be more or not be a film yet.