105 minutes, Mexico, 2013, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema

This film closes on Thursday, May 29th.


Heli is a young factory worker trying to make an honest living for himself and his extended family. The young police cadet boyfriend of his 12-year-old sister Estela attempts to impress her and prove that he too can provide by stealing packages of confiscated cocaine. When Heli discovers and destroys this stash, he draws the ire of the corrupt local authorities, who had their own plans for the disposal of the drugs.

From the opening scene, this is an uncompromisingly and unapologetically tough depiction of the poisonous repercussions of the Mexican narcotics industry. Director Amat Escalante’s style is spare and deliberate, with moments of shocking violence both onscreen and implied. In an inexperienced cast, lead actor Armando Espitia is impressive, but it is Andrea Vergara as Estela who has the greatest impact. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

★★★★ The Irish Times, ★★★½ Spooool.ie

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