- Director: Gerardo Naranjo
- Genre: Crime
- Cert: 15A
- Details: Mexico / 113mins .
- Release Date: 28/10/2011
Laura (Sigman) is a beautiful twenty-three year old with hopes of winning the Miss Baja California beauty contest to help out her struggling family (Laura is so poor she carries around her best dress in a plastic bag). While out partying with her friend, Laura is a witness to a police massacre carried out by the notorious Estralla gang. Searching for her missing friend the following day, Laura approaches a traffic cop for help but he hands her over to the gang whose leader, Lina (Hernandez), enlists her help in planting a car bomb in return for information on her missing friend's whereabouts. Before she knows it, Laura is caught up in a ruthless drug war she feels she has to go along with if she is to win the beauty contest, which Lina claims he can fix...
Loosely based on the story of Laura Zúniga, a beauty queen with criminal ties, Miss Bala (meaning Miss Bullet, a play on the beauty contest title) aims for realism in its telling. It differs from other crime movies in that the gangsters are devoid of personality – it's as if Lina and co. are up to more important stuff and don't have time to hang around in a movie. The audience isn't privy to their plans – we're firmly in Laura's shoes and know as much as she does, which is next to nothing. Naranjo also shoots the Miss Baja contest in similar fashion to Scorsese's title fight in Raging Bull: it's delivered without fanfare, making the gruelling journey to the dream rather pointless.
Naranjo can be commended for his understatement but there is a wishing that he would just go for it at times: the tone is consistent but it is monotonous. There's a point too, about a half hour before the final credits roll, where Naranjo should have called time: the director had said all he had to say and from there on in was just repeating himself. It would have made for a sharp and lean crime thriller but sticking around too long renders the run-in a little laborious.
Review by Gavin Burke | 09:00 | Friday 28th October 2011 | Movie Review
The latest film from Canana, the production company set up by actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, is a searing and battering indictment of the current drug war in Mexico. A young Mexican woman in a beauty pageant gets more than she bargained for when she's caught up in a cross-border drug war. Stephanie Sigman carries the weight of the film on her shoulders and she's superb as the passive and fragile Laura... but yet there's a strength in her character that sees her through to the end. There are perhaps too many sub-plots at times, but Miss Bala remains a fascinating watch throughout. I'm not sure how the Mexican Tourist Board might regard it though...Posted 23:15 | Fri 28th Oct 2011
Log in to leave a comment
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content