Sonntag, 13. Oktober 2013
There are individual scenes in Mexican director Amat Escalante's Cannes winner "Heli" that are expertly staged and filmed, tracing in long shots the movements of its protagonists on their way to discovering more unspeakable horrors while letting the audience in on their trepidation and sense of utter hopelessness. And there's definitely no shortage of atrocities to be found here. Whether it's murder, torture, public hanging, abduction or burning of genitalia (!), scenes of extreme violence are scripted and acted with a matter-of-course soberness that could probably be interpreted as an indictment of the corrupt regime and the morally bankrupt society. The stern photography is often grainy and underlit, but the impressions of barren stone structures and desolate, wide-open spaces are coldly atmospheric and add to the overall bleakness of the story.
On the whole, though, the movie is not the most accessible with its dialed-down dramaticality nor the most approachable for its aesthetic sparsity, and it ultimately lacks a narrative consistency or formal rigor to truly compel.