I am going to be very blunt: this will be one of the toughest reviews I have ever written due to it subject matter of immigration and undocumented people. I take the first one to heart because my wife and I are currently going through the immigration process ourselves, so to say “Blue Bayou” hits home is an absolute truth.
Directed by and starring Justin Chon (Twilight, Gook) alongside Alicia Vikander), Sydney Kowalske (Doom Patrol, Girl in the Basement), Mark O’Brien (Ready or Not, Arrival), Linh Dan Pham (Mr. Nobody, Indochine), Chris Bosarge (Homefront, Blood Country) and Brad Blanchard (Claws, American Made) this is the story of Antonio (Chon), who lives in Louisiana with his wife, Kathy (Vikander). They are expecting a child to add to Antonio’s stepdaughter, Jessie (Kowalske) while he works as a tattoo artist, which is about all of the work he can get due to his past. After he has a small run-in with the police that gets him arrested, ICE puts a hold on him due to his immigration status because of a mistake done when he was a child being adopted from overseas. Because of this, he finds himself possibly being deported and must fight for his freedom and his family.
This film definitely has an “indie film look,” but it is still shot well on locations in Louisiana. The cast is good, but my shout-out goes to Kowalske, whose Jessie really forms a great bond with Antonio and does see him as a true father figure. I was also impressed by Brad Blanchard, who did incredible playing a role of a Barney-Fife-meets-swamp-people type of character.
“Blue Bayou” is about two hours long and could have been about fifteen minutes shorter, but I get why some scenes were left in the film. From my experiences, some of the immigration material was exaggerated but was for the most part similar to what I have known. I am trying to be very spoiler-free, but after a slow start, it speeds up towards the end in pace and emotion to the point where I myself got caught up in it and would have if it did not hit so close to home. Looking at this film from the outside, I will recommend “Blue Bayou” as a Saturday Matinee showing in the theater.