The Deported, directed by Pat McGee and produced and narrated by Rosario Dawson, is a new YouTube Original documentary that hopes to bring light to the immigration crisis that has come to be one of the most urgent political issues to affect our country today. By taking a personal look at the stories of four families, the film provides a snapshot of the problem as a whole.
This movie takes a very predictable approach of detailing the immigration crisis. By approaching the film from a more personal level, McGee is able to create connections between the audience and the subjects of the documentary. Instead of berating the audience with facts and figures, McGee instead shows the problem in action as it relates to these actual human beings.
Over the course of the film, we get acquainted with these families, and it is easy to get drawn into their stories. The story of the Colombian family who fled their home country in search of political asylum is particularly heartbreaking because, out of the four stories, theirs feels the most urgent. However, all of the stories have a reason to be included and have effective moments that will appeal to the emotions of pretty much any demographic.
That said, the movie is unlikely to change any preconceived notions that audience members have regarding the immigration system. Although these four case studies are highly compelling, all of these people are very much human, and as such, they have made mistakes onto which some pro-deportation people may latch. That said, the film does a good job of convincing those who may be on the fence regarding the issue.
The emotional beats in the movie also don’t all land as intended. There is emotional resonance inherent in the story, whether it be the separation of a father from his wife and children or the risk of a family being murdered by rebels in their home country, so the filmmakers didn’t need to try so hard to tug at the audience’s heartstrings. For example, there are “confessional” interviews with the subjects of the film that feel forced and staged.
Additionally, the structure of the movie seems a tad messy. It is common for documentaries featuring multiple subjects to weave their storylines together, but this film does not do that in an effective way. The places where McGee chooses to cut almost feel too natural, as he does not leave adequate cliffhangers to pique your interest.
On a technical level, the movie is mostly fine, though there are a few decisions made that were somewhat questionable. Rosario Dawson’s narration adds very little to the film. It seems almost as if she was included as a name to draw views, but she only distracts from the stories of the subjects. Also frustrating is that the filmmakers included a graphic every time they switched between subjects. A graphic is only needed once to introduce them. After that, it is overkill.
The Deported is definitely very timely and relevant to issues we are experiencing today. Though it may not be the most effective or polished documentary on the topic, it does have some interesting stories to tell and is worth a watch if you already subscribe to the service.
The Deported is available on YouTube Originals beginning July 26.