Movie Review: Miss Bala
Gina Rodriguez goes from Jane the Virgin star to gun-toting, ass-kicking mode with her new thriller Miss Bala, now playing in theaters.
Based on the Mexican thriller of the same name, Miss Bala tells the story of Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) as she discovers a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength.
The film could be classified as both a soap opera and an action movie, and director Catherine Hardwicke does a great job at balancing both genres. She also stages the gunfights clean and fast, with so much build up on anticipation to hold your attention. The story also does a fantastic job building up some romantic tension between Gloria and gang leader Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), although things never really go far you still feel invested in their relationship, but that is by design. The filmmakers seemed very aware as to not make our tormented heroine fall for the criminal who kidnapped her. Cordova was just brilliant as Lino, and what was so compelling about his performance was that he could be scary one minute and quite charming the next. You become so conflicted on whether he is a bad guy or not which helps the story grow.
Gloria, however, is the key to Miss Bala’s strength. Rodriguez proves herself a strong actress while conveying this young woman’s terror even as she attempts to stay calm. You can see it clearly in her eyes that she is terrified by what’s going on, and barely holding it together. This film has so many brilliant, M. Night Shyamalan-like twists – each new and dangerous alliance she is forced into – that makes Gloria’s situation grows more hopeless.
With Miss Bala’s relentless forward march, its refusal to slow down, and sells the narrative – you won’t quite believe your eyes, but you won’t be able to stop watching. You will be on the edge of your seat the whole time. Miss Bala proves that Gina Rodriguez has what it takes to become a true movie star. I’m really excited to see what she does next, like hopefully a sequel to this.
Critc’s Rating: 5/5 stars