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Heli

Heli (2014)

tomatometer

63

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 15

There's no denying the seriousness of Heli's story or the raw power of its more uncomfortable moments, but they're used in service of a grimly alienating film that many viewers may ultimately find unrewarding.

57

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 6

There's no denying the seriousness of Heli's story or the raw power of its more uncomfortable moments, but they're used in service of a grimly alienating film that many viewers may ultimately find unrewarding.

audience

64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 595

My Rating

Movie Info

Heli (Armando Espitia) is a young man living in a small town with his father, his wife,their baby and his 12-year-old sister Estela (Andrea Vergara). He works at the same car factory as his unassuming dad, although on different shifts, while his wife is still adjusting to being a mother and recovering from a difficult birth. His sister, a conscientious student, is stumbling through an unconsummated love affair with an older guy, Beto (Juan Eduardo Palacios), who is treated like dirt in brutal

Unrated,

Drama

Outsider Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (15)

Director Amat Escalante and his gifted cinematographer Lorenzo Hagerman have crafted a powerful film that feels and looks a lot like Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning Traffic.

August 7, 2014 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although it obviously is made with some skill, it also is unrelentingly dire.

July 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unmistakably, an angry film, an indictment of circumstances that seem to force a choice between impotence and homicide.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stunning piece of filmmaking.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An average newspaper reporter can do a more artful, compassionate job with a drug-war story than this movie does.

June 11, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.

June 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Heli" is a slow, but unrelenting look at one young man's punishing loss of innocence amongst a society that has already decayed beyond understanding.

August 24, 2014 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

...maybe Heli contains few layers beyond its central political outcry, but then, maybe it doesn't need to.

August 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Though not without its faults, Heli is a beautifully shot, deliberately quiet surprise.

August 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

(Torture, child rape, mutilation, a penis set ablaze.) Still, the unforgiving, unrelenting, hostile tone of "Heli" is electric with unforgiving, unforgivable anger.

June 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity
Newcity

It's very easy to appreciate Escalante's technique and ability, even if watching "Heli" isn't a particularly pleasant experience.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

The story of a rural, working-class Mexican family torn apart by the drug trade, this indie is a gripping and increasingly horrifying descent into violence and despair.

June 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The rest of the movie isn't as graphically awful as its centerpiece torture sequence, but it does little more than flatly illustrate the obvious-namely, that the drug war is very bad news for ordinary, well-meaning Mexicans.

June 11, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

The emotional and political point through all this isn't to be taken lightly, but because the entirety of the film has such a nihilistic temperament, its effect is muted.

June 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Cold, alienating and only occasionally gripping, Heli is an uneasy mix of black comedy, social realist drama and crime thriller. If only the rest of the film matched the slickly confident cinematography.

May 27, 2014 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Heli paints a harrowing and often unbearably grim picture of a lawless bandit country, the indignities of which are made all the more powerful by Escalante's evident compassion for the struggling characters at the sharp end of all this escalating chaos.

May 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The director Amat Escalante shows plenty of visual flair but his detached, matter-of-fact approach to the suffering endured by his protagonists becomes alienating.

May 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

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