Drug cartels are a mysterious and dangerous force — responsible for the distribution of illegal substances everywhere. Somewhere along the lines, there are bound to be complications, whatever they may be. In the case of “Miss Bala,” a strong female protagonist begins to gum up the works as she tries to save her friend from the system after being captured. The film exposes the nature of various kinds of drug cartels while providing an empowering and suspenseful story filled with gorgeous scenery.
Based on the 2011 Spanish film, “Miss Bala” follows the heart-pumping journey of Gloria Fuentes (Gina Rodriguez) after she and her friend Suzu Ramós (Cristina Rodlo) are kidnapped from a nightclub by crime boss Lino Esparza (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Las Estrellas. Shortly after her kidnap and separation from Suzu, Gloria is confronted by the CIA — who offer their aid in finding her friend — leaving her with the internal struggle of fighting for her survival or finding her friend.
The story of “Miss Bala” provides a unique twist on the action hero archetype, as a conflict such as this is hardly seen in the action genre. Most commonly, audiences are subjected to the typical plot involving the revelation that one member in the villainous group is actually trying to help the protagonist. However, “Miss Bala” details the experience of this person — a refreshing viewpoint to say the least. The well-written twists throughout the film keep the audience guessing as to who is going to be affected and questions the true identities of people.
Throughout the film, it was hard to ignore the beautiful background presented in most shots. They serve to showcase the true beauty of Mexico, displaying the gorgeous mountain range as well as coasts, distant forests and fields. It is easy to forget the allure of another place when so often, people hear so much negativity about the activities within. Whether they are true or not, the movie proves that there is so much more than that — it even compels audiences to travel south of the border to enjoy the sights of the scenery.
The impressive cinematography in the film also deserves some praise. The lighting and backgrounds in the film serve to enhance the tones presented in the film. There are specific instances where the light of fires provides a slightly ominous feeling, where other scenes lit by the sun create a lighter tone. However, an interesting thing to note is the use of dut being kicked up, which often symbolized mystery or a new development. All these scenarios combined with the excellent use of the soundtrack allowed the audience to easily empathize with Gloria’s struggles.
While the current media highlights negativity around the border between the U.S. and Mexico, “Miss Bala” is a reminder of the beauty of Central America — both of the people and environment.