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Critic Reviews for Zone
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Audience Reviews for Zone
La Zona 2007 The Zone. Occasionally a good film will make its way out of Mexico La Zona is one of those films, a fascinating examination at just how far some people will go to maintain their status and their way of life. La Zona is a movie about class differences, corruption, and the greed that resides within all of us. Life is cheap and safety is expensive in this startling fable about haves and have-nots in modern day Mexico. La Zona is a clever thriller in the tradition of Hidden and Lord of the Flies. In Mexico City, a wealthy compound is surrounded by walls and surveillance system to protect the locals against the violence of the slums. Calling this a "gated community" is not entirely accurate. It looks more like a fortress with massive metal gates protecting the rich homeowners from the riff raff outside. During a stormy night, a billboard falls over the wall and three smalltime thieves cross the border through the breach to rob. They break into a house and kill an old lady; the residents organize militias to chase the delinquents. Two of them and one security guard are murdered by the vigilantes, but the sixteen year old Miguel hides in the basement of the teenager Alejandro. When Alejandro finds Miguel, he feeds and helps the boy. Sixteen-year-old Alejandro (Tovar) is shaken by the killings and uncomfortable with the vigilante intensity of dad Daniel (Cacho) and the other residents. They agree to handle things on their own at a community meeting, but then begin to turn on each other when it's suspected a resident tipped off the outside police. Meanwhile, Alejandro discovers Miguel in the basement, and, while initially wary, he realizes the pathetic, frightened kid needs to get out of La Zona if he's to remain alive. Twisted values and fear-driven Mob madness form the core of this film. It is an impressive feature debut that shows us the horrors of vigilante justice, doing more than putting the haves against the have-nots. This film tackles issues of privilege, responsibility and group mentality in many ways. The film finishes with a punch. Santullo's script write writes not showing us anything in strictly black-and-white terms. She doesn't downplay the burglars' criminal intentions. She gives us a background for Daniel's reasons for seeking justice outside official channels; She makes him a more three-dimensional figure. But message is clear: The residents of La Zona think their wealth sets them apart from everyone else, giving them special consideration and even power over life and death. The film poses a number of interesting questions regarding taking the law into your own hands, with regards to segregation, paranoia and insularity, rich versus poor, good versus bad, and it's not a bit subtle about it. Actor's performances are strong; Even stronger is Antonio Munohierro's perfect art direction. Whether designing a verdant golf course in full view of desperate slums or the sewers of his overly natural-perfect community-- the art direction becomes as important as the action as the characters themselves. Production values are top-notch. The issues that Pla tackles in the film almost feel like allegory, and the inherent social commentary within the film is great. It's not deep or difficult to find; it's simply handled in a raw manner that feels fresh. A sharp social satire, the film shows us a disturbingly close up view of the reality of segregated communities in many parts of South America. (And America) La Zona refuses to let the audience off the hook with easy resolutions, however. The film neither demonizes nor makes excuses for the intruders, and harshly condemns the justice system both within and outside La Zona. Even the "good cop," resorts to thuggish behavior. With rolling blackouts and a mood of increasing paranoia, La Zona echoes the classic "Twilight Zone" episode "The Monsters- Maple Street," which put suburban neighbors at each other's throats. La Zona takes place in a similar ethical twilight. The movie is definitely worth viewing. A big hit at box office throughout Latin America, "La Zona" found good acceptance in theaters north of the border. The film won "best first feature" at the Venice Film Festival 2007. The film has been criticized of relying on implausibility, stupid-inconsistent characters & convenient movie thriller conventions and that these detracted from any wider morally instructive points the film might have had. I disagree It's a movie I am willing to suspend my belief to get the film makers intent. It is rare to have this good of a film from our neighbor to the south. It's one of the most accomplished feature debuts I have seen in many years. 4 stars
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