The Top 5 Movies Shot in New Mexico
The Top 5 Movies Shot in New Mexico
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Due to New Mexico’s similar appearance to the Middle East, Hollywood has taken to calling our state by a new name, “New Mexistan”. So it’s no wonder why New Mexico was chosen as the primary location for the filming of Jarhead. Jarhead, a story of the first gulf war is based on former Marine, Anthony Swofford’s best-selling 2003 book about his pre-Desert Storm experiences in Saudi Arabia and about his experiences in Kuwait. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a war movie even though a “war” is the backdrop. What this film is really about is waiting for war. What happens to a young
American enlistee when he is trained to kill but has nothing to kill? 175 days in the scorching hot desert, with your adrenaline pumping; Jarhead explores what it’s like waiting for war.
Sam Mendes, acclaimed director of best picture winner, American Beauty, successfully captures a generation again with Jarhead, under slightly different circumstances. Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a fantastic performance.
2. There Will Be Blood
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
There Will Be Blood is one of the few films that was not just shot in New Mexico but takes place in New Mexico (well at least the beginning). It is a sprawling epic about Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis), a prospector in New Mexico. When he strikes oil, he starts a small drilling company, and eventually becomes rich and power hungry. There will be blood signifies a turning point in the career of Director Paul Thomas Anderson who up until had been known for his large ensemble casts, fast paced camera work and energetic editing. There Will Be Blood is a quiet film; a study of the character of Daniel Plainview and an allegorical look at power, capitalism, family and religion in a newly rich country.
3. True Grit (2010)
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
True Grit is the story of Mattie Ross, a stubborn teenager who employs a drunken US Marshall to capture or kill her fathers assailant. This western is a rare example of a remake done right and
would have made The Duke, who starred in the original, proud. The Coen brothers’ direction is superb as always but the thing that will really get us New Mexicans excited about this film are the
beautiful images that come from Director of Photography, Roger Deakins. His use of natural lighting and wide angle lenses bring out the beautiful New Mexico landscape, which is the perfect backdrop for this classic revenge story.
4. No Country For Old Men
Stars: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Tommy Lee Jones
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
This is probably one of the best films in the new millennium. The second best picture winner for the Coen brothers (the first being Fargo) this film is an ever tense discovery of violence from a drug deal gone wrong on the Rio Grande.
This film is truly a masterpiece. What’s most interesting is that it is an adaptation of a book written by crime novelist, Cormac McCarthy, who calls New Mexico his home(He lives in Santa Fe). If you haven’t seen this movie, stop reading this now and go watch it. It may move a little slow for those of you who have just seen Fast and Furious 7, but I promise you if you take the time to watch it straight through it will not disappoint.
5. The Guest
Stars: Dan Stevens, Brendan Meyer
Directed by: Adam Wingard
This genre film is one of the best of its kind. The film follows a soldier back from Iraq who claims to be friend of the Peterson family’s late son. In the midst of grieving over their son’s death, the Petersons invite the Guest to stay with them. Shortly after, a series of unexpected deaths start to suggest that the Petersons house guest isn’t exactly what they thought.
This film is a fun ride. It has an 80’s tone to it and is full of twists and turns. There’s plenty of action, an impressive amount considering this was a low budget indie film. The performances are great, especially from the bullied teenage Peterson boy, Brendan Meyer. It’s no wonder this indie got its premiere at Sundance! If you’re looking for best picture winner, you’re out of luck with this film. It is light, entertaining, and a perfect popcorn film to rent on a Friday night.