Director: Amat Escalante
Cast: Armando Espitia, Andrea Vergara, Linda Gonzalez, Juan Eduardo Palacio, Reina Torres
Genre: Crime Drama
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Mexico, France, Germany, Netherlands 2013 105 mins.
Winner Best Director (Amat Escalante) 2013 Cannes International Film Festival
Released by NETWORK RELEASING
'Powerful, intense and a damning indictment of Mexico.'
'Heli'opens with a powerful sequence of a kidnapped man hung from a footbridge, a common sight in Mexico. The camera lingers capturing everything in the image which is the trigger for a long flashback.
This controversial and violently explicit film follows the attempts of a Mexican family to make some money. The youngest of the family,12-year-old Estela (Andrea Vergara), starts dating 17-year-old Beto (Juan Eduardo Palacios), a special-forces police cadet who steals some confiscated cocaine so that they can get married. Auto plant worker Heli (Armando Espitia), Estela's older brother gets rid of the drugs but they now have to face the corrupt police force.
'Heli' is a damning indictment of the drug-fuelled violence and corruption that permeates Mexican society. Visually superb with Lorenzo Hagerman's low tracking shots offering Mexico's desert-like beauty as a backdrop to the everyday horrors in a land where the law is powerless. Paranoid and surreal - the earth tremors, a tank-like beast appears threatening, hypnotic and monstrous only to leave in a cloud of dust and noise as it disappears over the horizon- it's not a Sci-fi moment . In Mexico the forces of law and order know how to give a warning and Heli's got it.
The torture sequence is realistically explicit, a descent into hell with the camera lens concentrated on the perpetrators, some of whom are children, drug fueled heads,distorted beings obedient to the order. Brutal and sad, made more so by a women in the background casually preparing food.
The 'goods' are delivered to them, they know what to do, it's all in a day's work - 'What did this one do?' The reply 'Who knows.'
Powerful, intense, mesmerising and tragic, victims of indiscriminate violence. An indictment of a lawless and corrupt society.