Jonas Cuaron's latest thriller about a group of illegal Mexican migrants who find themselves a target of a psychotic American sniper is definitely not the most accessible of pictures. However, despite its somewhat minimalistic approach, Desierto is packed with action and palpable tension which doesn't ease up until the film's very end.

As the movie begins, the Mexican migrants in question can be seen seated in the back of an overcrowded pick-up truck on their way to illegally enter the U.S. However, they soon run into some mechanical trouble and are forced to make the rest of the journey on foot.

Battling their way through the punishing terrain, the group's mission is soon thwarted by a gun-toting militant, Sam (Morgan), who has taken it upon himself to patrol the border. What follows is a gruesome and superbly-shot series of events as the survivors try to avoid the same deadly fate.

With the film being a one-setting kind of show, there's very little clutter in the way of its storytelling and so the plot is able to focus on Gael Garcia Bernal's character, Moises; a young a man who, as we learn in the second half of the story, is looking forward to reuniting with his daughter in Oakland after being deported back to Mexico some time ago.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character, meanwhile, is a man of no morals; a drunken loner who takes pleasure in killing off the crossers using his long-range rifle, sometimes even employing his equally ruthless dog to do the deed. The two opposing characters are the heart of the movie and while both actors are finely suited for their roles, a little bit more character building could have helped cement their presence a little better as protagonist and antagonist.

Nevertheless, the violence is depicted superbly and the suspense is strong, with Cuaron making good use of the vast terrain to build fear and dread, alongside some truly captivating cinematography.

Those looking for a bit more dimension and complexity in their action-thrillers might find hard to invest in the film; but if you can stick to it, Desierto is chilling thriller that has a subtle power and a weighty political message hidden underneath.