From its bold opening long take – one of the most audaciously disconcerting and seductively executed lead-ins in many a moon — director Amat Escalante sends viewers hurtling downward on a topsy-turvy journey through his hellish depiction of Mexico’s war on drugs. Same familiar terrain, different cartel, you ask? Guess again. Escalante is fighting the good fight, and this is far from a hoodlum recruitment film. It's very much, "Do the crime, do the time." Heli (Armando Espitia) works in a Mexican automobile factory. He’s the kind of cocky kid capable of buying his girlfriend a cuddly pup and then, when called upon, wantonly pumping two rounds into a pit bull. But he's not your typical Fordian archetype; when his sister falls into the hands of volatile drug lords, there will be no search through a savage, corrupt world. It's not for the faint of heart, but then, brutal honesty seldom is. (2013) — Scott Marks
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