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Miss Bala

  • Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Miss Bala

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars
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.
Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 28 October 2011
  • Duration:113 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Gerardo Naranjo
  • Cast:
    • Stephanie Sigman
    • Irene Azuela
    • Miguel Couturier
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