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The 25 Best Movies Of 2012 (So Far)

21. Miss Bala

Director: Gerardo Naranjo
Stars: Stephanie Sigman, Irene Azuela, Miguel Couturier, Gabriel Heads, Noe Hernandez, James Russo

Look above and picture the beautiful Stephanie Sigman in a much more pleasant situation, one that doesn’t require the bikini-clad beauty to hide underneath a hotel bed as gunfire erupts all around her. Imagine you could spend 110 minutes’ worth of action directly alongside Sigman—doesn’t sound all that bad, right? OK, now recall that aforementioned bullet-spray and add in permeating dread and the uninterrupted threat of death.

Directed by Gerardo Naranjo with a fierce sense of ground-level urgency, the punishing Mexican action-thriller Miss Bala fearlessly delves into the gruesome, drug-minded criminal underworld that exists south of the border. Sigman, in an outstanding acting debut, plays Laura, a shell-shocked beauty pageant contestant who reluctantly falls deeper and deeper into the clutches of a violent gang.

Just like Laura, the viewer is never let off the hook, as Naranjo endlessly attacks the eyes, ears, and mind with explosive action and obdurate statements about his native country’s darkest impulses.

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