Cinematic release poster
|Directed by||Gerardo Naranjo|
|Produced by||Pablo Cruz|
|Written by||Gerardo Naranjo
|Music by||Emilio Kauderer|
|Edited by||Gerardo Naranjo|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox (Mexico)|
Miss Bala is a 2011 Mexican drama film written by Gerardo Naranjo with Mauricio Katz and directed by Gerardo Naranjo. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film was selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.
23-year-old Laura Guerrero (Sigman) lives with her father Ramón (Javier Zaragoza) and little brother Arturo (Juan Carlos Galván). Laura and her friend Suzu (Lakshmi Picazo) both enter the competition for the Miss Baja beauty pageant. They go to the Millennium Night Club, where Suzu meets her boyfriend Javi (Hugo Márquez). However, when Laura goes into the bathroom, she witnesses members of the La Estrella gang causing chaos by shooting randomly into the club. Frantic, she tries to search for Suzu, and as a result fails to show up for the early rehearsal for the pageant, and is ejected from the competition.
She is then kidnapped by the leader of the La Estrella gang, Lino (Noé Hernández), and the gang also kidnap her brother and father as bargaining chips to control her. Laura is used by the gang for criminal missions, including transporting drug money across the US border, and luring out a DEA agent who has infiltrated the organization (José Yenque).
The climax of the film occurs after Laura wins the Miss Baja contest. The gang uses her to seduce a prominent military general (Miguel Courtrier); but she switches sides when she learns that Suzu had been a casualty in the nightclub shooting. She manages to survive the ensuing shoot-out but is captured by the military and paraded as a member of the gang.
In the final scene Laura is taken away by the police and dropped off at an undisclosed location.
- Stephanie Sigman as Laura Guerrero
- Irene Azuela as Jessica Berlanga
- Miguel Couturier as General Salomón Duarte
- Gabriel Heads as Agent Bell
- Noé Hernández as Lino Valdez
- James Russo as Jimmy
- José Yenque as Kike Camarena
Real life incident
Miss Bala is loosely based on a real incident, in which 2008’s Miss Sinaloa, Laura Zúñiga, was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled with munitions outside Guadalajara, Jalisco. The film suggests her pageant victory was blatantly fixed by criminal elements. In an interview with Complex Magazine, director Gerardo Naranjo said that he had met Zuniga, but that "I really didn’t want to go into their psyches. I guess the film has a very strong point-of-view, and we refuse to get into the minds of these guys, because I think that’s what every other movie does… I wanted to live the experience from the point-of-view of an innocent person."
On its release at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Miss Bala received widespread critical acclaim. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 61 reviews, with an average score of 7.2/10, making the film a "Certified Fresh" on the website's rating system. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 80, based on 22 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews".
- List of submissions to the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Mexican submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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- "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
- Kaufman, Anthony (2011-05-15). "‘Miss Bala’ Subverts Criminal Thriller Genre at Cannes 2011". The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved 2011-05-19.
- "Miss Bala - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "Miss Bala Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 16, 2011.