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80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: A young woman working the beauty pageant circuit in Mexico gets more than she bargained for when a crime boss sees her as the perfect drug mule.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 19, 2012
    100
    A first-rate art-house thriller, Miss Bala tells the strange, seemingly impossible story of a Mexican beauty queen who becomes the accidental pawn of a drug cartel. It's an adventure story that could be called a contemporary picaresque if it weren't so deadly serious.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 25, 2012
    91
    Miss Bala toes a delicate line between exploitation movie and movie about exploitation, but that's part of what gives the film its charge - this isn't some flaccid docudrama about how the cartels are poisoning the country, it's a lively, white-knuckle thriller where any such proselytizing is reduced to implication.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jan 20, 2012
    90
    What the film captures so effectively is the cultural reality of Mexico's ubiquitous underclass.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Oct 13, 2011
    75
    Naranjo keeps the action tense but understated; instead of allowing explosions and shootouts to pile up, he rations them in taut doses.
  5. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    Bala, by the way, means "bullet." Laura Zúñiga, the real-life beauty queen on whom the film is loosely based, was called "Miss Narco" in the Mexican press.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 26, 2012
    75
    There are no good guys in Miss Bala, just bad guys of different stripes.
  7. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Oct 24, 2011
    60
    That innocuous title disguises a Mexican thriller with genuine bite, though the hokey ending doesn't quite live up to the edgy plotting and Sigman's classy turn as a tough heroine in an impossible situation.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Dec 21, 2011
    10
    I was no t really excited about this movie, but I found it really realistic, It can be sad but the reality is not so different at all. The drug dealing in Mexico is anywhere and he film so true that it because I love it. The script is absolutely dynamic.Good performances, Absolutely recommended Expand
  2. Nov 9, 2011
    10
    'Miss Bala' is non a commercial movie, neither is a film about drugs cartels and corruption in the Mexican government. This is film about feelings of thousands of normal people in Mexico. Recently in this country, a lot of filmmakers and producers have decided to do projects about â Expand
  3. May 18, 2012
    8
    Entertaining, enlightening ... brilliant.

    It's a '1st person' film, with an innocent protagonist, dragged through an ugly reality in much the
    same way as Alphonso Curion's 'Children of Men'. This is the 'Children of Men' of Mexico. Expand
  4. Nov 28, 2011
    7
    Raw, rough, real, showing the ugly side of the coin of the situation that exists in some parts of the world, is in the eyes of laura fear. trying to escape the trauma in a world that is already submerged to the head. recommended Expand
  5. Oct 1, 2012
    7
    A damning indictment on the drugs trade in Mexico, this film highlights the plight of many that fall into the clutches of these gangs. I did enjoy the rough and ready style of filming; you really felt you were right in the heart of the action Expand
  6. Feb 18, 2012
    2
    This is a movie about a woman who gets wrapped up in a violent, oppressive drug gang and, in the words of another reviewer, "doesn't fight back . . . not even a little." The plot is indeed full of holes, as has been much noted (note a border crossing scene that defies logic), but the bigger problem is that there is not a single moment where our would-be heroine displays any sort of will, creativity, or strength of character--in short, anything that would make her tale worth watching or imbue it with the slightest bit of suspense. Instead, it is an ultimately monotonous tale of a prolonged, merciless assault on an ill-defined character who never has a chance and apparently wouldn't take it she had it. It's painful for her and painful for the audience, who is left with no suspense beyond seeing what awful fate will befall this hapless victim next--like watching a gritty, modern-day Perils of Pauline, but with no one to pull the would-be heroine off the railroad tracks. Realistic, perhaps; interesting, no. For contrast, see Maria Full of Grace, a movie with a similar concept--it's every bit as raw as Miss Bala but actually delivers some human drama. The real casualty here might be Stephanie Sigman, who plays the embattled victim. In the first scenes, her portrayal of a terrified, desperate woman is palpable and stirring. Sadly, she is forced by the script and the director to maintain that mode for the next 90 minutes. It felt like 180. Collapse
  7. Oct 15, 2011
    0
    Very slow movie... low quality and also very bad directed... didn't like many of the scenes and the way the director kept filming the actors from behind Expand

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