Birds of Passage: there is something greatly familiar in this crime empire saga, but Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra play them against a very different backdrop. The generally unexplored cultural landscape adds a lot of freshness to the story, and invites thematic considerations that aren’t usually made. However, the characters are, in general, exceedingly simple, unidimensional; they fit the roles they are supposed to, but don’t go through any arch or changes. Acting is generally low-key and serviceable, but not particularly memorable. Jhon Narváez has a great rascal smile that is a great fit for his character; Carmiña Martínez projects a certain hardness that also works quite well. José Acosta, however, is a bit apathetic. Editor Miguel Schverdfinger gives the film a very good pace, moving along the years clearly. Cinematographer David Gallego gives the film a simple but effective look; the splashes of color from the costumes are very arresting.