Heli Reviews

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Kevin Jagernauth
The Playlist
August 24, 2014
"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.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Andrew Crump
Movie Mezzanine
August 9, 2014
...maybe Heli contains few layers beyond its central political outcry, but then, maybe it doesn't need to.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
David Lewis
San Francisco Chronicle
August 7, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Zach Hollwedel
Under the Radar
August 4, 2014
Though not without its faults, Heli is a beautifully shot, deliberately quiet surprise.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Ray Pride
Newcity
June 26, 2014
(Torture, child rape, mutilation, a penis set ablaze.) Still, the unforgiving, unrelenting, hostile tone of "Heli" is electric with unforgiving, unforgivable anger.
Anders Wright
San Diego Union-Tribune
June 12, 2014
It's very easy to appreciate Escalante's technique and ability, even if watching "Heli" isn't a particularly pleasant experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 12, 2014
Unmistakably, an angry film, an indictment of circumstances that seem to force a choice between impotence and homicide.
Nick Schager
Film Journal International
June 12, 2014
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.
Top Critic
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
June 12, 2014
A stunning piece of filmmaking.
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
June 10, 2014
A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
May 28, 2014
A depiction of how violence and corruption, when left unchecked, taints saints and sinners alike, sparing no one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Mark Kermode
Observer [UK]
May 26, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Allan Hunter
Daily Express
May 22, 2014
Rarely has a lawless land felt so pitiless and inescapable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Steve Rose
Guardian
May 22, 2014
It's forceful stuff, but the way the story drifts and dissipates in the latter stages is disappointing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Siobhan Synnot
Scotsman
May 19, 2014
Amat Escalante's brutal account of a Mexican family who attract the wrath of a drugs cartel. Very little of the gruesome violence is left to your imagination.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Andrew Lowry
Total Film
May 19, 2014
There's much to admire in Escalante's verve and daring.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Hannah McGill
The List
May 13, 2014
If the story it tells about a contemporary Mexico mired in corruption and violence is a familiar one, it's still one of undeniable pertinence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Erik McClanahan
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 31, 2014
The imagery is equal parts ugly and beautiful as the tale descends into a nightmare most could never conceive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
T'Cha Dunlevy
Montreal Gazette
November 7, 2013
Life is not only tough in Amat Escalante's bracing film Héli. It is brutal and senseless. And yet the Mexican filmmaker conveys a certain message of resilience through his troubling story of a regular family whose world is upended by a savage drug cartel.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jon Frosch
The Atlantic
May 28, 2013
One of those skillfully crafted, unflinching works that nevertheless leaves you questioning what the point of all the queasiness might be.
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