Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Miss Bala por / by Gerardo Naranjo
Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman) lives in the border city of Baja. She lives with her loving yet overbearing and protective father and her younger brother. She desperately desires to escape the grim poverty of her current life.
When the announcement is made that the Miss Bala Beauty Pageant is accepting applications for the auditions, Laura, along with her best friend Suzu apply. To celebrate, Suzu takes Laura to the Millennium, a seedy nightclub. They are accompanied by two guys Suzu had just met. Suzu tells Laura that the guys they are with have 'connections' that could help in winning the beauty pageant. While Suzu heads on to the dance floor, Laura goes to the washroom. When a group of armed men enter the club and begin to shoot, Laura remains in the washroom and hides.
After the mayhem has cleared, she desperately searches for Suzu. She naively seeks the help of a cop. The cop delivers her into the hands of the gang that was responsible for the massacre. The gang is led by Lino (Noe Hernández) who is quietly sinister. Lino is smitten by Laura. He decides to hold her hostage. He gives her various gang related tasks. To reward her after she completes her first task, Lino exerts his influence and she wins the beauty pageant. This strongly shows that corruption can infiltrate even the most seemingly innocent and how organized crime has it's say in all aspects of society.
Driven by Lino’s promise of fulfilling her dreams and finding her friend Suzu, Laura continues to do the tasks given to her. Her revulsion at what she is witnessing increases so she tries to flee. Lino soon tracks her down and threatens to kill her father and brother. All of what gave Laura meaning in her life has now vanished.
In a last-ditch effort to rekindle the hope, she agrees to act as a mule, crossing into the States to trade weapons for money with a corrupt cop. He tells her of a conspiracy to upset the balance of power between the Mexican police and Lino’s gang. Upon her return from her mission, Laura gets caught in the middle of a shootout between the two factions. Betrayals, violence and corruption continue as Laura descends further down into this hellish situation.
This provocative thriller stands out as an indictment of a society that is crumbling and caught in the grips of lawlessness. It also brings out, superbly, the naivety of the general population.