Sundance Review: At the Ready



During the 2016 Presidential election campaign Donald Trump repeatedly turned his attention to the US/Mexico border; most famously with his white elephant border wall. Since entering the race and throughout his subsequent term in office, he has repeatedly denigrated Mexicans as ‘drug dealers, criminals and rapists’; ramping up detentions of adults and children. This rhetoric has resulted in the border region becoming more and more militarised, by state, federal and private entities.

This increasingly tense situation isn’t just restricted to the area surrounding the frontier, it spills out into the nearby regions. Many Texas public schools offer a range of ‘public safety’ vocational courses. Horizon High School in El Paso is home to one of the state’s largest law enforcement educational programs, which includes after-school criminal justice clubs. At the Ready follows a group of students as they train to become future crime fighters.

At the Ready shines a spotlight on the high ideals taught during these classes and how they stack-up with an imperfect reality. By training her camera on the experiences of young Mexican Americans, Maisie Crow opens a window to the wider socio-political issues across both sides of the border. This is what At the Ready does so well. Whilst the focus may be on these teenagers as they strive for a career, their hopes, fears and expectations are gradually teased out.

At the Ready screens at Sundance Film Festival.

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