Back Comments (2) Share:
Facebook Button
Feature
No no no no no. No. There are several sights in Battle In Heaven that I really could have done without ever seeing, most of them to do with wobbly flesh and pink sticky out bits in this tale of kidnapping and spirituality.

Battle In Heaven
The main character is Marcos (Hernández), a morose middle aged man living in Mexico City. He has some sort of part-time job in the military that involves him watching soldiers raising and lowering a giant Mexican flag, and he occasionally doubles as a chauffeur for Ana (Mushkadiz), the general's daughter. It's this relationship that forms the core of the film, with Marcos lusting after Ana (who is a prostitute in her spare time by the way) while he and his wife suffer the wreckage of a disastrous kidnapping scheme.

Battle In Heaven courted controversy on its release last year for its highly graphic sex scenes, including unsimulated fellatio. Far be it from me to suggest that this could have been a marketing strategy to pull in punters but really, the promise of some hot rumpo seems the only possible way to entice people to go and see such an excruciatingly dull film.

Battle In Heaven
I'm going to use a word now that I never thought I was pretentious enough ever to use in a review, but films like this bring out the worst in me: longueurs. Absolutely rife with them, Battle In Heaven is. Endless, endless shots of people walking down corridors or driving or doing absolutely nothing. Then there are the ridiculous lines that come out of absolutely nowhere, stuff like "The thing is, my wife and I kidnapped a baby and he died this morning."

It can't really even be recommended for the Willie Thorne, given that some of the participants are, shall we say, less than stunning. And if you're not paying attention during early scenes like I may not have been, you may labour under the wrong impression that Marcos' wife is actually his mother, so that when they.......look, it's just not worth getting into, OK? It's easier if you just don't watch it at all.

Video
The anamorphic transfer is generally clear enough but lacking sharpness and depth and there are occasional problems. Early scenes are very dark and there is some noise and grain, while scenes in bright sunlight exhibit some glare. Detail in fleshy close ups isn't great and there is a bit of ringing in finely detailed items. Other than that the picture is fine with no obvious blemishes.

Battle In Heaven
Audio
Battle In Heaven is not the sort of film you would expect to benefit from a DTS track, because for the most part it's nothing but dialogue, and often there is barely any sound at all. But when something is happening, it works very well—ambient sounds are picked up superbly and busy scenes capture the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, with dozens of voices and traffic noises providing directionality, while some deep, bassy music gets the sub working. The standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn't far off in terms of quality, while the Dolby 2.0 becomes fairly redundant.

Extras
The only real extra is an adequate thirty three minute interview with director Carlos Reygadas and actress Anapola Mushkadiz. Reygadas talks about his inspiration for the film, his casting choices and how he likes to cast non-professional actors. Mushkadiz talks about her relationship with her co-star how the sex scenes were shot early and attitudes towards them.

Battle In Heaven
Also included is the theatrical trailer and a trailer reel for other Tartan releases: Guy X, Primer, Secret Lives of Dentists and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.

Overall
I couldn't sit through Battle In Heaven again if it were the last film in the video shop. Call me a philistine, but honestly, this film is rotten. Maybe I've got it completely wrong and you'll think it's a masterpiece. If that's the case, you're welcome to it.


Links: