Monday, February 27, 2012
Miss Bala is a 2011 Mexican drama film written and directed by Gerardo Naranjo. To be honest, the name, Gerardo Naranjo, doesn`t really tell me anything. But let me just tell you up front that this not so famous director did an excellent job writing and directing Miss Bala. The film was even selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards, unfortunately it didn`t make the final shortlist.
In the lead role we can see unknown but beautiful and talented Stephanie Sigman, who plays the role of Laura Guerrero. A young woman - in her early 20s - who lives with her father and younger brother in Tijuana, Mexico.
The film starts with Laura and her friend Suzu going to an auditon for the Miss Baja beauty pageant. The audition goes well and both girls are asked to come back the following day. For a moment, life seems to be perfect for Laura, she has just successfully taken the first step in the process of realizing her dream of becoming the next Miss Baja. After the audition Laura follows her friend to a seedy nightclub. In there, she soon finds herself being in a wrong place at the wrong time. Lino Hernandez, the local drug kingpin, and his gang, storm the nightclub. Laura lies on the floor and miraculously survives the intense gun fire. After the danger is over, she starts to search for her friend but can`t find her. She ends up spending the night in a café staring at her cell phone, hoping to her from her friend. But as the sun rises, she has not yet heard anything from her firend. She leaves the café. On the street, she spots a police car. Hesitating whether it is the right thing to do or not, she approaches the car. She tells the policeman everything that happened on the previous night and he promises to help her. The policeman says that he will take her to the station to form an official testimony. But instead, he gives her over to the Lino Hernandez gang. The mistake of trusting the policeman, changes Laura`s life tragically. Lino, who takes an immediate shine to Laura, starts to use her in his criminal actions. Laura, afraid for the safety of her family, does everything as told. As Lino appears to be fond of the girl, he uses his criminal ways to secure Laura the Miss Baja title. Laura still taking part in the pageant, after life-chaning encounter with Lino Hernandez, is what makes this film what it is. On one moment Laura is on a street nearly shot to death in an exchange of fire between Lino`s gang and DEA. The next moment, she is thrown to the backstage of the beauty pageant for a quick make up to appear beautiful and cheerful on the stage in just few minutes.
I remember accidentally reading a comment about Miss Bala on Metacritic before watching the movie myself. There was this one guy - I can`t recall his ridiculous username - who said that this movie was fine but appeared as if it had been shot with a cell phone camera. I don`t know what low-budget series of frames did he watch and why he felt the need to write about it on Metacritic`s Miss Bala review page, but he obviously had not seen Miss Bala. This film is expertly shot. Although, the camera work was a little unusual at times, it was so only to make it seem more realistic and bring out the emotions Laura felt more clearly.
Stephanie Sigman did a remarkable job playing Laura Guerrero. Laura did not speak much. So all the emotions - fear, confusion, uncertainty etc - had to be shown with body language only. And Stephanie did a really good job at that. Laura seemed to be in shock pretty much the full time after the shootout in the nightclub.
Noe Hernandez who plays the local drug kingpin Lino Valdez was pretty good as well. He does a great job at bringing out his character`s nasty personality and looking gruesome.
In conclusion, I have to say that I really liked this film. I started to watch it only because I found Stephanie Sigman pretty good-looking and I wasn`t really ready to see something this good. It took me by surprise. It really was a realistic, fast-moving and intense movie that gives the audience a harrowing experience. 9/10 points! Yep, it was that good!
Posted by psychology-knowledge at 8:46 PM