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HIGHWAY PATROLMAN (EL PATRULLERO) (director: Alex Cox; screenwriter: Lorenzo O’Brien; cinematographer: Miguel Garzón; editor: Carlos Puente; music: Zander Schloss; cast: Roberto Sosa (Pedro), Bruno Bichir (Anibal), Vanessa Bauche (Maribel ), Zaide Silvia Gutierrez (Griselda), Pedro Armendáriz Jr. (Sergeant Barreras), Jorge Russek (Sr. Mateos); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Lorenzo O’Brien; Together Bros. (New Yorker Films); 1991- Mexico/USA/Japan-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“Low-budget accomplished black comedy cautionary morality tale.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

British cult filmmaker Alex Cox (“Three Businessmen”/”Repo Man”/”Death and the Compass“) travels to Mexico to helm this low-budget accomplished black comedy cautionary morality tale. A hand-held camera is used primarily in long shots, as it’s filmed in a semi-documentary style. This is Cox’s most accessible film. It’s main fault is the episodic stories though highly entertaining lack a dramatic fervor.

The short, naive and honest Pedro (Roberto Sosa) is a proud recent idealistic graduate of the National Highway Patrol Academy and is assigned to the country roads around Durango, where the poorly paid cop learns there are dark sides to his job-like bribes being routine.

A lady farmer, Griselda (Zaide Silvia Gutierrez), Pedro stopped for a traffic violation, soon ends up being his wife. She immediately puts demands on Pedro to provide her with a more comfortable life.

Pedro tries social work on the prostitute Maribel (Vanessa Bauche), as he tries to help her get off drugs and return to her family.

When Pedro’s best friend Anibal (Bruno Bichir) is killed in a drug deal, the cop forgets his code of office and seeks revenge on the killer.

As time goes by Pedro, though remaining a sympathetic figure, allows the system to corrupt him.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”