directed by Amat Escalante
A Mexican family gets sucked into the brutal, unforgiving world of Mexican drug cartels after the 12 year old younger sister gets involved with a 17 year old cadet who stole drugs from a corrupt official. This is an excellently crafted crime drama whose shocking, disturbing and brutal elements are tastefully done and does not feel at all exploitive. It's beautifully photographed and acted and its deliberate pace only serves to highlight the brutal violence (one scene in particular will make you cringe). It falls a bit short of true greatness but it's still a quite excellent cinematic depiction of the drug war and corruption in Mexico. (***1/2)
Cinemanila this year has been plagued with cancelled screenings, delays and a shortened time frame. But, even then, it was more than worth it because I got to see a whole bunch of great films.