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Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general he drives for, who prostitutes herself for pleasure. Marcos confesses his guilt to her in his troubled search for relief. And then findsMarcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general he drives for, who prostitutes herself for pleasure. Marcos confesses his guilt to her in his troubled search for relief. And then finds himself on his knees amidst the multitude of believers moving slowly towards the Basilica in honour of the Lady of Guadalupe. (Tartan Films) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18
  1. Promiscuously inhabiting several planes at once, Reygadas's restless inquisition may already be this year's movie to beat.
  2. 75
    Reyadas' radical rejection of filmmaking conventions is at first off-putting, but he's able to elicit remarkable performances from the cast of non-professionals while building tension that will hold viewers' attention. Love it or loathe it, you won't soon forget Battle in Heaven.
  3. Some audiences will find it an endurance test and Reygadas doesn't make it easy with his confrontational imagery, but he provokes emotions not often explored on screen.
  4. 60
    Reygadas is an undeniably important artist hewing his own path, but who is also self-consciously playing to the tastes of a tiny elite audience that craves obscurantism, confrontation and heavy-handed symbolism. Still, I really want you to see this. Then I'll have somebody to talk about it with.
  5. We may indeed yawn a bit from time to time, but we know that we are yawning in the presence of a director who is intelligently disturbed by the moral inertia he sees around him and whose future is worth watching.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    50
    There is an interesting set-up here for something great but Battle In Heaven never lives up to the expectations.
  7. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    25
    A spectacular failure, despite further evidence of the director's keen eye and bold cinematic ideas.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. RicardoR.
    Sep 22, 2006
    10
    One of the most interesting directors right now. Delivers a MASTERPIECE. I didn't like "Japon", but this one, Oh my god is just incredible.
  2. CarlinhosB.
    Feb 23, 2006
    10
    There are two options for this fill, "Hate It Or Love It", this is a very hard film to watch, if you watch the original version of course. It There are two options for this fill, "Hate It Or Love It", this is a very hard film to watch, if you watch the original version of course. It really is a great film, there are so many movies out there so much better than this, however none of them have the sincerity and intelligence of this sophmore masterpiece. Expand
  3. LouisA.
    Feb 24, 2006
    10
    An amazing film that cuts right to the heart of ideology and cultural apparati in the modern developing country.
  4. Jul 27, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Writing about a film I greatly admire, but wouldn't recommend to anyone I know, is tricky. I wouldn't want someone to see this movie on my say so, then hate me for it. It might be best to prepare people for what they'll see. Unsimulated and graphic sexual intercourse and oral sex. These scenes are far from erotic, (An obese man & a 19 year old hooker, and an obese man and his obese wife) but they form the basis of the story. The distance between the haves and the have not's/never will have's.

    It's the story of Marcos, a mild mannered driver for an Army General and his daughter. The daughter works as a prostitute part time, for reasons that never come to light. Or does she? Is Marcos imagining this because he knows it's the only way he'll ever be able to have sex with her? As the film opens, we learn that Marcos and his wife, who sells self made clocks and jams in what appears to be an airport, have kidnapped a baby for ransom, but the baby died. Marcos takes this news without emotion, he's a man beaten down by life. The scenes in which we see things from Marcos's point of view, are among the films best. In one scene, Marcos watches a family of privilege arrive home in a car Marcos will never have, dressed in clothing he'll never own, and even though he's standing five feet away, no one acknowledges his presences until two little girls call him a fat pig. Marcos dare not say a thing.

    Eventually Marcos and the Generals Daughter have sex. Or do they? Real or imagined sex aside, he views this girl as his chance at a happy life. This is made abundantly clear in the films final scene. In the hope that she will see him in a different light, see him as a good person, just see him, he tells her he's going to turn himself into the police, for his role in the kidnapping. When she responds with what could be perceived as indifference, Marcos explodes. Then a truly lost Marcos falls in with a procession of religious pilgrims. That may sound heavy handed, but it's not. We're made aware of the pilgrims earlier in the film.

    I would have loved to have been at the premier of the film to count how many people walked out after the first two minutes. After watching Battle in Heaven, as well as, another of his films, Silent Light, it's clear that Mr Reygades isn't interested in the audience. I hope that never changes, because he's a visionary, and it's best to give a visionary the room they need to see.
    Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Apr 7, 2007
    7
    As Marcos(Marcos Hernandez) chauffeurs Ana(Anapola Mushkadiz), the boss' daughter, who we soon learn, he covets; that dispassionate face As Marcos(Marcos Hernandez) chauffeurs Ana(Anapola Mushkadiz), the boss' daughter, who we soon learn, he covets; that dispassionate face of the general's flunkey is conspicuously framed in the rear-view mirror as he drives his client to work. Marcos appears to have other things ruminating behind his blank visage, but that rear-view mirror(also used in Brian DePalma's "Dressed to Kill") signifies the male gaze(film is largely patriarchial), and if there's a sexually active nubile in the backseat, there's desire. Daddy's little girl is a prostitute who works at an upscale whorehouse(what the Mexicans call a "boutique"). It's never made clear why this privileged girl subjects herself to the sex trade; that's just what Ana does in between the time she's a daughter and a boyfriend. "Battle in Heaven" has Catherine Breillaut's DNA all over it. This provocative film is a very good clone. The controversial woman who introduced graphic sex regularly to contemporary cinema probably wouldn't bother to explain Ana's rebellious attack on bourgeoise values either. Late in the film, there's a shocking act of violence(similar to Breillaut's "Fat Girl") which I interpreted as Marcos' anger that Ana led him into temptation. Such an idea is terribly unfair, of course, because what this implies is that a woman's body was built for sinful thoughts and men are helpless before its erotic design. Marcos makes his pilgrimage to the Basilica by inching forward on bended knees and without the benefit of sight(there's a bag covering his entire head). Since he's blind, women no longer pose a threat to his marriage vows. In the scene preceeding Ana's oral ministrations of Marcos' manhood, we see the flag of Mexico being lowered and folded away. Without the constrictions on free will that government and religion present to Marcos, he is free to prolong his sexual relationship with Ana without guilt. "Battle in Heaven" is anti-woman, but it's also rigorously intellectual. Expand
  6. JimA.
    Jul 2, 2007
    0
    This movie was a complete failure. Sex scenes with no point and actors who don't even know how to play! Finally the end is not explain This movie was a complete failure. Sex scenes with no point and actors who don't even know how to play! Finally the end is not explain anything. I know the plot only because I read it somewhere! Expand

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