Texcentric ‘The Big Bend’ bends genre

The Big Bend a true indie effort, and the sophomore film from Brett W. Wagner, revolves around two families in West Texas during a weekend vacation. The host owns property in Terlingua complete with a modest luxury cabin.

The Big Bend is super Texcentric. Shot in Texas and constantly referencing cities and attitudes of the Lone Star State.

There are shots that incorporate Santa Elena Canyon located in Big Bend National Park (The same spot was used in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams.) although the majority of the film was shot at the adjacent Big Bend Ranch State Park. There’s magic in the landscapes that form the background for a desolate yet rich mystery. There’s cacti.

The Big Bend keeps you guessing what story it wants to tell because the atmosphere bounces from hang-out film to thriller to lost-child-sub-genre and manages to mix in marital unrest while framing the story with the search for an escaped convict in the general area.

The bad guy may not actually be that much of a bad guy although he sports a gnarly prisoner beard. And the children of the two couples themselves are channeling ulterior motives. Meanwhile the adults all slowly reveal conflicting feelings about their spouses between early morning walks and late night jacuzzi baths.

Such a complicated film demands a significant ending and The Big Bend shows that it has not painted itself into a corner.

The Big Bend deserves a looksee. This is the kind of movie that covers the rare territory referred to by Jackson Browne as the place where “the road and the sky collide.”

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