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User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3

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  1. Aug 27, 2014
    9
    A powerful Mexican drama that, although very well made, is not particularly likeable entertainment. It tells of an impoverished Mexican family unwittingly drawn into the region's drug wars due to the sister's involvement with a young and naïve police cadet. The film captures the milieu of poverty drugs and corruption unerringly well and has no problem registering strong responses andA powerful Mexican drama that, although very well made, is not particularly likeable entertainment. It tells of an impoverished Mexican family unwittingly drawn into the region's drug wars due to the sister's involvement with a young and naïve police cadet. The film captures the milieu of poverty drugs and corruption unerringly well and has no problem registering strong responses and emotions. It also has a clinical matter of fact approach to violence which is demonstrated in two or three scenes that are shocking in there casualness. Ultimately, this is one hell of a cautionary tale directed with assured confidence that underlines just how suddenly lives can spiral out of control, in this case, due to the actions of others. Expand
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Jul 11, 2014
    50
    Writer-director Amat Escalante was named best director at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for this project, and although it obviously is made with some skill, it also is unrelentingly dire.
  2. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Jun 18, 2014
    67
    The movie maintains a relentless grip all the same. Unlike the junior kingpins who bear witness to the film’s big blaze, audiences won’t watch in a passive state.
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 12, 2014
    50
    Heli, which won the directing prize in Cannes last year, is at once extreme and unspectacular, a grisly and lurid slice-of-life drama.