Heli - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Heli Reviews

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Top Critic
Joe McGovern
Entertainment Weekly
December 3, 2014
The film's nihilism serves as a metaphor for the merciless death pit of Mexico's drug war, but not much else.
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-
Andy 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
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
July 10, 2014
Although it obviously is made with some skill, it also is unrelentingly dire.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Ray Pride
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
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
June 11, 2014
An average newspaper reporter can do a more artful, compassionate job with a drug-war story than this movie does.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Mike D'Angelo
The Dissolve
June 11, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
June 10, 2014
A dead-eyed, lyrical art film that kicks you in the throat.
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
June 9, 2014
Much of what Heli has to say feels either obvious and/or exhausted by a raft of other recent narrative and documentary features.
Top Critic
Stephen Dalton
Hollywood Reporter
June 9, 2014
The film's emotional and psychological threads resolve themselves less convincingly.
Tomas Hachard
Slant Magazine
June 8, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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
Brogan Morris
We Got This Covered
May 27, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/10
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
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