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Battle in Heaven (Batalla en el cielo)

Battle in Heaven (Batalla en el cielo) (2005)

tomatometer

46

Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 57
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 31

Though it tries to be provocative, Battle in Heaven is lethargic and mind-numbing.

37

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 12

Though it tries to be provocative, Battle in Heaven is lethargic and mind-numbing.

audience

47

liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 89,021

My Rating

Movie Info

In Battle in Heaven (AKA Batalla en el Cielo), director Carlos Reygadas' searing look at the inherent hypocrisies of Mexico's social structure, Marcos Hernandez is Marcos, an overweight, poverty-stricken chauffeur who longs for a better life for his wife and young son. Desperate, the couple kidnaps an infant child for ransom. When the baby dies in their custody, this simple crime that Marcos hoped would brighten his family's future instead adds a crushing burden to his conscience and will bring

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Carlos Reygadas

May 9, 2006

Tartan Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (62) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (31) | DVD (8)

Since premiering at Cannes the movie has become notorious for its shocking, emphatically unerotic sex scenes, though it's equally notable for its striking visual conceits and small moments of intense feeling.

April 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insufferably arty, polemic and winkingly provocative.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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A spectacular failure, despite further evidence of the director's keen eye and bold cinematic ideas.

March 31, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Art with a capital A. Don't be afraid. OK, be a little afraid.

March 31, 2006 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Comment (1)
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you dare to see it, prepare for a challenge.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Reygadas' gift for imagery is undeniable, but for most viewers, Battle in Heaven will offer not enlightenment but frustration.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The pic's strangeness becomes its strength.

February 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

But how can you resist a filmmaker who uses an old Spanish saeta as if it was an unpublished Ennio Morricone theme? Is real beauty ever pure?

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

No amount of thoughtful dissection can make up for the unpleasant, uncomfortable and unnecessary experience of actually sitting through the thing.

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

rich in allegorical theme and symbolic imagery, transforming the most banal of materials into miraculous epiphanies... but all too aimlessly hypnotic to get a firm grip on the viewer's attention.

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The outcome often amounts to an impressive slideshow instead of a fluid, substantial piece of work that involves and challenges us.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Reygadas proves that rare filmmaker interested in tackling both the personal and the political through expressly confrontational means.

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Reygadas' direction seems to wander from time to time, as when Marcos walks around in the hills for long minutes without a purpose, but he always brings it back home. He's a perplexing, but voraciously talented filmmaker to watch.

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Comment (1)
Combustible Celluloid

Reygadas' artful but ponderous camerawork succeeds only in turning the intimately exploitative ... into something emotionally distant and stupefyingly dull.

May 12, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune

he film's pallid emotional tone, which is in sync with the constancy of the dull gray sky overhead, can make it a hard story to embrace.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

There is a stillness to the film that is initially fascinating, but it wears thin quickly.

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

The only battle I had was deciding whether to watch the whole movie or get out while the getting was good. Unfortunately, I opted to stay to see if it got better... it didn't.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source: TheMovieChicks.com | Comment (1)

There's more to this controversial and aesthetically cold film than just its explicit sex scenes. Honest.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Some audiences will find it an endurance test and Reygadas doesn't make it easy with his confrontational imagery, but he provokes emotions not often explored on screen.

March 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The cast are all non-actors, and boy, does it show.

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: LYTRules.com
LYTRules.com

Audience Reviews for Battle in Heaven (Batalla en el cielo)

First movie made to date starring robots disguised as humans. Thus, explaining the lack of anything that remotely looks like a human emotion, or normal human behaviour, in this film.

Anyway, Reygadas can't trick me with his smoke curtains, the man wanted to film fat people screwing. If you need more proof of the type of cinematic wanker this guy is, he's selling himself like a sort of Tarkovsky meets Breson. Seriously, nobody in his right mind will say they "enjoyed" this unless they're just trying to impress some pseudo-intelectual hot chick at some bar.
May 2, 2008
DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

Ugly fat guy sleeps with prostitute in graphic sex scene. Slow, plot-less, with characters you couldn't care less about let alone identify with.
March 11, 2007
RossCollinsUK

Super Reviewer

I was quite disappointed by this, expecting a Breillat-style examination of raw sexuality. Though the movie has developed a notorious reputation for it's extreme sex scenes, these moments do seem to glare at the audience, as if only to distract us from the plotless imagery. It seems to involve a kidnapping and the pursuit of a girl ending in our protagonist's mental breakdown, but the narrative is highly uninvolving, giving the film a very documentarian feel. And when most of what is documented is a fat man recieving a veerrry slow blowjob, it does make you question sticking through it all.
November 28, 2006
guttersnipe28

Super Reviewer

A very strange film, with very little action, taking place over just a few days. Long takes in which the camera pans about the scene while the action continues, often off-camera, lent a certain style to the film. However, the motivation for some of the action was entirely missing, as was any sign of emotion from the actors. What happens is fairly clear. Why those things occurred is still a bit of a mystery. Yet for all of its shortcomings, this still proved to be quite interesting.
November 2, 2011
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Battle in Heaven (DE)
  • Battle in Heaven (UK)
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