6.5/10
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39 user 135 critic

Miss Bala (2011)

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

Director:

Gerardo Naranjo
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Popularity
3,872 ( 959)
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Mexico | USA

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

9 September 2011 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Kursun Kraliçesi See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Connections

Remade as Miss Bala (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Hotel
Written by Emilio Kauderer
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User Reviews

 
Strong film, nicely told with a different feel
29 January 2012 | by pierre-57See all my reviews

Beware of those viewers who really just want to see another Femme Nikita or something similar with non-stop unrealistic action led by a pretty babe.

Miss Bala isn't like that. (Dumb title though. Why not just keep Miss Baja? Are they afraid we gringos can't handle that name?) This film is about the way innocent Mexicans are caught up in the narco wars when they're just trying to live their own dreams.

In addition to the strong theme, the movie works because the story does more than carry thematic resonance -- there's suspense (which requires patience that the video-gaming generation may not be able to muster) and a very sympathetic central character. No, she's not always active, but she is reactive; she isn't just passively passing through this story. We care about her because she has a dream that has been sullied, because she cares about others (her friend Zuzu and her brother), and because, even after she's been abused, she's willing to take a risk at the end to prevent a murder.

Add all this to a well-shot movie with an unusual but effective mise-en-scenes in many of the beats and very scary bad guys, and, well, the sum of it all is a very strong movie.

By the way, there are no continuity lapses in the story and the finale makes sense -- but again, it's going to take some thinking. This movie is not an American action pic -- there's more thought behind it, and more thought needed to digest it.


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