It's been quite a while since a 'challenge' film was watched but here is the latest, Miss Bala from Mexico.
Described on the DVD case as "a thrill ride" and "a blistering firecracker" I expected this film to be an action film. The cover art was also mis-leading as it featured many explosions and men with guns, with Miss Bala herself standing calmly in the middle in her pagent swimsuit and crown. The film is also called 'Miss Balla: The Bullet Queen' which made me think that this had been altered to appeal to a English speaking country. This was a hsmae because it wasn't quite like the cover and descriptions. It was better.
Loosely based on a true story, Laura is a young woman who wants to be part of the Miss Bala beauty pagent. But after a terrible event at a club she finds herself captured by a violent gang of Mexican drug smugglers.
That is the basic description of the story. What happens after she is captured and forced to do things by the gang leader just gets worse. Not only does she have her family threatened but she is then seen as part of the gang and she has no way out. As the story progresses the film and Laura's world becomes more and more claustrophobic and in some scenes uncomfortable. I don't think the character smiles once in the film, not including the pageant scenes where she barely forces a smile.
The story and characters also feel too close to home meaning that it feels very real and current. It feels a bit like a documentary in a way, apart from the death scenes. The story the film is based on took place in 2008 when Miss Sinaloa, Laura Zúñiga was arrested along with suspected gang members in a truck filled with weapons outside Guadalajara.
The film was released in 2011. That's quite fast for a film to be made and released so soon after the event.
The film was distressing by the end as Laura was powerless. A very good film but not one I would happily watch again.
End Line: Hardly a Bullet Queen, she was a Victim.