Jesus Nebot pulls off the impossible task of not only being the writer, director, producer, and star of the film “No Turning Back,” but makes it all work into a satisfying and socially conscious film as well.
“No Turning Back” throws us right into the world of Pablo, a former English teacher from Honduras who is now working in the fields of Southern California. While rushing to pick up his daughter, he accidentally runs over a young girl. Frightened and confused because he has no license and is an illegal immigrant, Pablo attempts to high tail it to the border with his young daughter and Solid, a guerilla journalist, who agrees to help only if she can tape the events for a harsh, yet truthful documentary.
Jesus Nebot is unquestionably the glue that holds this film together. It’s hard to have any sympathy for someone who runs over a small child and then deserts their responsibilities, but Nebot plays Pablo with such intensity not to mention compassion for his ultimate responsibility, his daughter, that we tend to sometimes overlook the error of his ways. This makes not only great acting, but also great directing by Nebot who shares credit with the also talented Julia Montejo. One should not forget Actress Lindsay Price’s role of Solid, the doc filmmaker, shooting Pablo’s run to freedom. Arrogant, yet sympathetic to the larger cause, her performance plays a good yin to the yang of Nebot’s.
The film also tackles the issues of immigration and how we deal with the situation of citizenship in the U.S.. The fact is Pablo IS an illegal immigrant who has killed a small child, yet he has the responsibility of his daughter to contend with. In the end, who is Pablo really? A responsible and loving parent or a lawbreaker running from his mistakes? Again, hats off to Nebot for creating a piece of filmmaking that contains no easy answers for the audience and stirs the pot for debate.
The movie is based on real events about an amateur documentary filmmaker that showed footage of similar events to Nebot while looking for material to direct. One can only imagine the real events that happened and what the end result really was. In the case of “No Turning Back,” its conclusions are really its only flaw. Its final moments seem too contrived and even though we leave the film on a happy note, it would have been better suited to leave on a more realistic one.
Even still, “No Turning Back” is a compelling piece from these first time filmmakers. With juggling so many hats for an independent film, Nebot along with director/writer Julia Montejo manage to pull out all the stops and create a compelling drama with a little social message for good taste.