I suspect that Carlos Reygadas' BATTALA EN EL CIELO (or in
BATTLE IN HEAVEN) will be the sort of movie that will
divide critics and audiences. I've no doubt that some of my
colleagues will proclaim it a masterpiece and extol its virtues
while others will be appalled that such drivel could even reach
the screen.

      My feeling is more to the latter. I was not impressed by
the movie which is supposedly a slice of life. For my taste, it
is extremely slow moving and offers little in the way of
characterization. Sometimes when a director uses non-professionals
the results can be magic (see much of Iranian cinema for example);
in this case, the non-actors hired by Reygardas are inexpressive
and unappealing.

      The lead character is Marcos (Marcos Hernández), a driver
for a military general in Mexico City. When the film opens, a young
woman named Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz) is performing fellatio on
Marcos. Eventually, the audience learns that Ana is the daughter
of Marcos' employer, a wealthy girl who gets her kicks from
debasing herself as a prostitute. Marcos eventually confesses to
Ana that he and his wife had kidnapped the child of a neighbor
and that the child accidentally died. As a means to improve the
man's mood, Ana takes him to a brothel but he insists that she
be his partner. When he later tells his wife that he has confessed
to Ana, the wife insists that he go back and take care of the
problem, which he does.

          BATTLE IN HEAVEN is the sort of movie that I find tedious
and, worse, boring. Eschewing a plot for posturing doesn't appeal
to me. I'm sure there are many to whom it does appeal. So, I hope
you go and enjoy this film and others like it. Me? I'm going to
be running in the opposite direction.

 Rating:              D
MPAA Rating:    NONE
Running time:    98 mins.
Battle in Heaven
(Batalla en el cielo)
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.