Film Review: Spiked

STUDIO: Gravitas Ventures | DIRECTOR: Juan Martinez Vera | CAST: Aidan Quinn, Carlos Gomez, Deirdre Lovejoy, Danay Garcia, Wendy Makkena
RELEASE DATE: March 26, 2021
SPECS: NR | 93 min. | Drama

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2

Inspired by real events, Spiked is a timely story rooted in the injustices of the immigrant workers experience that doesn’t fully plumb the depths of its true subjects.

Set in the early 2000s, Spiked follows John Wilson (Aidan Quinn, TV’s Elementary), a newspaper publisher in a small U.S./Mexico border town who denounces the abuse of power by local law enforcement, particularly in the case of the murder of an immigrant mine worker who’s been attempting unionize, along with the police, who are involved in the crime and covering it up. John and his team (Madam Secretary’s Carlos Gomez and Prison Break’s Danay Garcia) take on the plight of his family and community in an effort to bring about justice. At every turn, their efforts are thwarted by an uncooperative, corrupt police chief (Deirdre Lovejoy, TV’s The Wire) and matters are escalating when John succumbs to a mysterious illness that threatens his life and his investigation.

Director/writer Juan Martinez Vera (Spark) provides a solid paint-by-numbers, surface account of a familiar David vs. Goliath but what’s missing from this immigrant story is, well, the immigrant’s story. The film lacks an actual examination into the lives of the community John is trying to help—we learn nothing about the life of the victim (I can’t even remember his name) or his family and coworkers. Could the story not have focused on how the murder affected the mine workers, imposing a terrifying threat of deportation or death to their own lives with John and his team as the supporting players determined to aid in their fight for justice? Instead, we learn more about how John is terrorized during his investigation than how the immigrant community deals with day-to-day discrimination and inequality. One could make the case the film is another example of a minority’s story being told through a white man’s viewpoint.

Additionally, with a running time of 90 minutes, the film ends abruptly without clearly wrapping up the fate of all involved. It’s not often I make the case for films to be longer, but an extra 10 minutes that lets the audience know what happened to the officers involved, what was the larger scheme they were a part of, how were John’s findings received by the town and did they actually help the immigrant community in any substantial way etc., would have been appreciated.

Spiked is an important and very relevant story that should be watched, it just would have been stronger and more meaningful if it had flipped its narrative.

Watched Spiked

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at