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The Globe and Mail

Miss Bala: A violent ride through the thickets of corruption

A scene from "Miss Bala"

Eniac Martínez Ulloa

3 out of 4 stars


Directed by Gerardo Naranjo (Mexico)

Blinkered innocence is the sole point of view, corrupt and deadly experience is the sole content. The whole film unfolds from the perspective of a naive Tijuana teenager who, after signing up for the local beauty pageant, finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time – witness to a night-club massacre perpetrated by a gang of narcos. She does the sensible thing and goes to a cop but, in Naranjo's take on Mexican society, sense is an endangered commodity – the cop leads her straight to the gang's vicious leader. What follows is an always violent, often surreal ride through the thickets of widespread corruption, with the audience sometimes left as confused and disoriented as the poor girl. But there's no mistaking the moral of this amoral tale: Even when innocence is crowned, injustice reigns.

Sept. 11, 9:15 p.m., Scotiabank 4; Sept. 12, 2:45 p.m., AMC 3

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