MISS BALA directed by Gerardo Naranjo, written by Naranjo and Mauricio Katz, with Stephanie Sigman and Noe Hernandez. A Mongrel Media release. 113 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (February 3). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Miss Bala, which translates as Miss Bullet, hits the mark. It's a fast-paced, surrealistic take on the drug wars in Mexico, shot from the perspective of the unlikeliest abetter.
Stephanie Sigman plays Laura, a teenage Mexican beauty pageant contestant who witnesses a nightclub massacre and ends up under the thumb of a vicious cartel. Soon, she's helplessly thrust into a world where the gangsters are running politics, the police and even beauty pageants - a nice jab at that particular industry.
The film was inspired by a real-life event, but director Gerardo Naranjo forgoes docudrama for a critical mood piece that's both nightmarish and darkly comical, where the wide frames and long takes teem with seemingly infinite sleaze and violence.