Set in Mexico City, a gated community keeps the wealthy residents safe from the surrounding slum; the community is almost an independent state with its own police force and school. One night a storm causes a billboard to crash into the wall, allowing three hoodlums to sneak inside for a spot of burglary. While breaking into one house, the hoodlums murder an old woman and, while trying to escape, are shot by the guards. One boy - Miguel (Chávez) - flees the bullets and hides in the basement of teenage Alejandro's (Tovar) house. Because his father (Giménez Cacho) is heading up the search party that's becoming a bloodthirsty manhunt, Alejandro keeps it quiet. However, when a twitchy resident shoots one of the guards the police come calling and the community fear they'll lose all their exclusive privileges. A meaty first outing for Plá who exaggerates this class war to prove his point - the rich will always keep the poor down. While liberals will wave angry fists at the middle class here, conservatives will shrug and say 'that's why the wall was built in the first place.' Both have a point, but Plá is very much on the liberal side of the wall and his (or is it writer Laura Santollo's?) somewhat biased diatribe against the wealthy smacks of angry student politics. There's more going on than at first glance, however, as La Zona takes time to comment on twisted values, mob mentality and democracy: the community have their own 'assembly' that calls the shots by majority vote, but when some disagree with Miguel's manhunt, they too are ostracised and their rights taken away. It's great to have a film that says something and creates debate - we don't get many of those these days.
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