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Miss Bala (2011)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 6,122 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 35 user | 126 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

After entering a beauty contest in Tijuana, a young woman witnesses drug-related murders and is forced to do the gang's bidding.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Laura Guerrero
Juan Carlos Galván ...
Arturo Guerrero
Noé Hernández ...
Lino Valdez
Irene Azuela ...
Jessica Verduzo
Javier Zaragoza ...
Ramón Guerrero
Lakshmi Picazo ...
Azucena 'Suzu' Ramos
...
Kike Cámara
...
Jimmy
Leonor Vitorica ...
Luisa Janes
Gabriel Heads ...
Agent Bell
Hugo Márquez ...
Javi Fernández
Miguel Couturier ...
General Salomón Duarte
Eduardo Mendizábal ...
Quiño
Sergio Gómez Padilla ...
Parca
Felipe Morales ...
Tío
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Storyline

At 23, Laura Guerro and her friend Suzu enter the Miss Baja pageant. Both qualify, and while Laura waits at a nightclub for Suzu to break away so they can go shopping, a heavily-armed drug gang murders drug enforcement officials there. Laura escapes unharmed but can't find Suzu, so the next day she looks for her; her dogged behavior brings her to the cartel's attention, and they force her to assist them as they menace her father and younger brother. Lino, the gang's leader, decides Laura should finish the pageant although her only interest is escape. Every day drags her deeper and corruption is pervasive. What alternative is there to death or prison? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some brutal violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

9 September 2011 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Miss Bala: I vasilissa tis omorfias  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mexico's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012. See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I want to represent the beauty of my state."
3 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

MISS BALA is a strong film from Mexico (apparently based on a true account of the unending drug war focused in Tijuana produced by actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna and James Russo who has a role in the film as a corrupt DEA agent) - a film that is unafraid to uncover the ruthless activities by the drug cartels, the Mexican police, and the US DEA agents in the endless battle against drug trafficking. It hits like a punch in the stomach and remains in the memory long after the credits have rolled.

Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman) dreams of being a beauty queen in the Miss Baja California Beauty Pageant, a position that will raise her out of her meager existence as a dress maker in the outskirts of Tijuana where she lives with her little brother and father. She and her best friend Zuzu work their way into the line of women vying for the contest title. After winning entry into the pageant Laura reluctantly agrees to go to a sleazy nightclub with Zuzu. In the club's toilets she witnesses the covert entry of an organized drugs cartel led by Lino Valdez (Noe Hernandez). Lino is finds Laura to be attractive and smart, and allows her to escape. However, when Laura reports her missing friend Zuzu to a corrupt Mexican police officer, she finds herself delivered back into the hands of Lino, and entangled ever deeper in a vicious drugs war. She is used as a mule to transport drug money across the border, returning to full fledged gang war. Lino uses her physically and then keeps his promise to have her crowned Miss Baja California, but the title and the events that follow lead to horrors and alienation Laura never dreamed possible.

Writers Mauricio Katz and writer/director Gerardo Naranjo push this expose of just how all consuming the drug traffic problem is at the border. It is terrifying and though Laura seems to be a helpless obeying victim throughout the tale, she represents just how futile it must be to attempt to stand against the atrocious crimes being committed. The power of the film is its willingness to show that both side of the war on drugs - gangs, police, DEA agents, and population - are at fault for allowing this outrage to continue. But business is business and the film hints at how hopeless the situation is. Stephanie Sigman emerges as an actress of importance and her part in this film will remain indelibly burned on the minds of the viewers. We should all see this film.

Grady Harp


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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