The basic idea of this multi-layered Mexican crime-thriller is the notion that during the 30 days of the World Cup both police and criminals drop their guards but this can sometimes end very badly indeed. The film is set during the days of three World Cups – 2002 (Japan/South Korea), 2006 (Germany) and 2010 (South Africa) – and the action takes place in the streets of Mexico City. In truth, it's not immediately obvious that the time-line is staggered in this way and it's quite easy to get mixed up. Events are so inter-linked and similar it would be quite easy to think everything was occurring simultaneously. But one of the best things about this impressive film is how everything comes together by the end. It's a very clever conceit to stage the film in this way (although an obvious drawback would be that someone who is not familiar with the way the World Cups fall chronologically might be forgiven for being somewhat confused!).
It's got a real mean energy to it. I won't reveal plot details as I think it's best to discover this one with as little prior prompting but suffice to say there are kidnappings, a tough cop, a prostitute gang-leader and lots of corruption. The mean streets of Mexico are utilised to great effect with some very kinetic camera-work, one particularly audacious shot travels up from ground level and into a first floor window, through a couple of rooms and out another window and back down to ground level where it then follows a chase between a policeman and a criminal. The soundtrack, which also includes music from the likes of Massive Attack, has a very energetic Mexican vibe as well that provides barrow-loads of atmosphere to proceedings too.
This one has that very specific Latin American energy that is so seductive. There have been several such films since the millennium and this is another in this cycle. It's a very impressive and thrilling movie that may take a little time to take hold of you but bear with it and the ride is well worth it and by the end you will see how intelligently the whole movie has been designed. You'll probably want to watch it again to see it in a new light. Recommended.
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