Miss Bala (15)

Film

Gangster films

Miss Bala

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Tue Oct 25 2011

What would you get if Michael Mann retooled Lucrecia Martel’s ‘The Headless Woman’ for the Guns & Ammo set? Gerardo Naranjo’s gobsmacking ‘Miss Bala’ is what: an abrasive, anything-can-happen dirge through Mexico’s dismal criminal underbelly as seen through the gorgeous peepers of the wannabe beauty queen of the title (Stephanie Sigman).

While visiting a grotty underground discotheque frequented by bent coppers, our feisty heroine is kidnapped by a band of faceless, nameless terrorists and coerced into carrying out their illegal bidding (and more). It’s then simply a case of watching in horror as she’s knocked around the city like a pinball, violated at regular intervals and with absolutely no one she can turn to for assistance.

On a purely technical level, this is a highly accomplished and original piece of work, with all the action delivered from the perspective of the simpering but tough Sigman. Narajo channelled Godard’s ‘Pierrot le Fou’ in his rough-edged previous feature, ‘I’m Gonna Explode’, and even though the tone is very different, this new work playfully evokes the spiralling descent into savagery of JLG’s ‘Week End’, or even the impulsive, tinpot revolutionaries that populate his ‘La Chinoise’ or ‘Prénom: Carmen’. Not that Narajo is particularly interested in fleshing out rational ideologies for either cops or bandits: his film is all the more disarming for the fact that it takes place in a society where politics appears redundant and money and power are gained through violent, minutely orchestrated coups.

So it’s not a political film, nor is it one that peddles a liberal news agenda about Mexico’s ongoing drug war. It does, however, allow us to take an objective look at various legal power structures, and it helps us to understand that whoever wins this battle, we lose.
0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Oct 28, 2011

Duration:

113 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
LiveReviews|11
1 person listening
John Cooper

We all know that `real life` is different from films . . This is why we go to see films . . . The best thing about this film is the chaotic gun battle which we experience from the main character's point of view, as she struggles desperately to avoid the flying bullets. However the rest of film is disappointing . . . . . The film's efforts at realism result in humdrum ordinariness and an everyday tedium . . . . . Badly paced, poorly filmed . .with little exploration of character, . . . . We know Mexico has its problems with its drug gangs . and that political corruption is rife . . . just as we know that the Mafia is a criminal organization based in some of America's main cities . . . The Godfather and Good Fellas are five star films They are compelling pieces of cinema on every leve. . . .Miss Bala is not a five star film . Worth seeing as a documentary about the Mexican Drug war.. . . .

stevhors

A good well crafted film in every deparment but no way is this worth 5 stars. Stephanie Sigman is a good actress, and model but her character never really rang true as an aspiring beauty queen. I enjoyed best her bewildered involvement with the various gangs and groupings all pursuing their Kafkaesque agendas and coded communications. Perfectly entertaining gangster movie and brilliant in its' portrait of a corrupt lawless and dangerous society but 5 stars ? I don't think so.

John

Corruption, dishonesty and maybe bribery! That's not the film by the way! it can only be how this film average fulmar best got 5 stars!!

Lori

Which smug, pretentious TO reviewer conned my husband and I into seeing yet another crap supposedly 5 star film? £26 and 2 hours of my life I'll never get back. This movie was average at best, and that is being generous. I understand Mexico is in the grips of a horrendous drugs and guns war and I feel for the people of Mexico, as a native North American. But I could have done without this rendition. It just wasn't good. At all.

pao

Script full of loopholes, bad timing, no feelings, no emotions. Maybe it is a good depiction of Mexican reality but it is a cold and badly scripted movie and I could not care less about the characters or the story

Chilondoner

@Sutton, no offence but you are clearly not familiar with the situation in Mexico. As a Mexican national I found the plot based on real facts. My biggest fear is that as in most cases, reality must surpass fiction. Great film if a sad one for a Mexican who would wish different stories were told about his homeland. Worth seeing it.

Sutton

Note to self and others ...avoid TO 5 star reviews, it consistently leads to disappointment. This is an average film. The plot was unbelievable and the film dragged.

Ian

This is a fantastic film. Gripping, involving, surprising and visceral. The camerawork is superb, and the terrific use of sound means you have to see it in a good cinema (Curzon Soho would be perfect). The violence is non-Hollywood, which means that it is frightening and shocking, as opposed to glamorised and a substitute for plot. An innocent caught up in anarchy, crime and corruption it is a powerful tale and analogy of the rampant drug crime in Mexico. Top stuff.

Ian

This is a fantastic film. Gripping, involving, surprising and visceral. The camerawork is superb, and the terrific use of sound means you have to see it in a good cinema (Curzon Soho would be perfect). The violence is non-Hollywood, which means that it is frightening and shocking, as opposed to glamorised and a substitute for plot. An innocent caught up in anarchy, crime and corruption it is a powerful tale and analogy of the rampant drug crime in Mexico. Top stuff.

Maria

Great film, loved the story of violence being told through the eyes of a beauty queen bystander who gets unintentionally dragged into the Mexican underworld. Original and bold.

Maria

Great film, loved the story of violence being told through the eyes of a beauty queen bystander who gets unintentionally dragged into the Mexican underworld. Original and bold.