Miss Bala: movie review
Gerard Naranjo's film about the Mexican drug trade seems to be only an art-house exploitation film.
Eniac Martâ€™nez Ulloa/Fox International Productions/AP
Gerard Naranjo, the acclaimed young director and co-writer of the low-budget independent film â€śMiss Bala,â€ť has a flair for freestyle action that should serve him well in Hollywood â€“ if thatâ€™s where he wants to go.
Alas, heâ€™s more than halfway there already. â€śMiss Balaâ€ť has been praised on the festival circuit for being a gritty look at the Mexican drug trade but too often it seemed like a bargain-bin â€śScarfaceâ€ť to me.
Stephanie Sigman plays Laura, a young beauty in the running for the title of Miss Baja California before corrupt cops and drug thugs commandeer her life and her existence becomes increasingly nightmarish.
Some of the shootouts are effective and Naranjo sustains anÂ atmosphere of floating dread but itâ€™s essentially an exploitation film, art-house-style. Grade: B- (Rated R for language, some brutal violence, and sexuality.)