Title: Battle In Heaven

Also known as:
Batalla en el cielo (Original title)

Year: 2005

Genre: Drama / Arthouse

Language: Spanish

Runtime: 98 min

Director: Carlos Reygadas

Writer: Carlos Reygadas

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387055/

Marcos, a chauffeur, and his wife have recently kidnapped an infant for ransom, but before they get far enough to get the money, the infant dies. Marcos guilt is so extreme that it leaves him like a shell, just wandering around. But there is one thing that still matters to him - Ana, a young girl he drives around.

Our thoughts:
Every time I sit down to watch a movie with explicit and/or unsimulated sex I'm afraid that it will simply be a niche. And in a lot of the cases it's true, they're just any drama (or whatever genre) that happen to have explicit sex, most likely to raise a few eyebrows and get attention. Not that I'm against that, I actually really enjoy this is films because I don't see a reason not to show it if in the scene they are having sex. Right? You know I'm right, you god damn pervert! So what's the case for "Battle In Heaven"? Stay tuned!

First the story. It's about a general's chauffeur, Marcos. Marcos and his wife were in need of money and decided to kidnap a baby for ransom, but the baby dies. Since they're not really bad people to begin with, Marcos is filled with so much regret and guilt that his life doesn't seem worth living anymore. The reason it was important to mention he is a general's chauffeur is because for the past 15 years he has been driving the general's daughter, Ana (also a prostitute). And now Marcos decides to tell her about the kidnapping.

The opening scene in this film is quite an amazing way to start the movie. It starts with a dreamlike scene of Ana giving fellatio to Marcos, graphically. This is a scene that also comes back in the end of the movie, making a very important scene in the movie. Ana is a beautiful young woman, while Marcos and his wife and both overweight but this doesn't keep them from being naked in front of the camera. The movie is really straight-forward with the sex and nudity, and the reason it works so well is because it's realistic. The scenes aren't really sexy or anything like that, they're just scenes of people having sex.

Now, what really makes the movie work, even the sex scenes, is the great cinematography and the long takes. The opening shot is just fantastic combined with the music. I had not expected some scenes to be as breath-taking as they are from a little Mexican film like this, so I was pleasantly surprised by this fact. It's all about the atmosphere and visuals in this film, even though it deals with heavy subjects. Marcos is very quiet through-out, and we have to dissect what he is thinking through the atmosphere and that's what keeps the movie from being boring. On the surface not much happens in the movie, but it's all about the inner battle our character is going through, and we really see him as he goes through it. All the way to his "redemption", in a scene that might be a bit too foreign and religious for my liking.

It's never really a problem that "Battle In Heaven" is a slow movie, but because there's not much going on it feels like it's longer than about 90 minutes. After about an hour I thought I had watched at least 80 min. And that's never good, I suppose. But the movie is worth spending the time and patience on if you like depressing drama movies, and don't mind watching obese people have sex (although Anapola Mushkadiz looks great, so there's always that). Even though I had been interested in the movie for some time, I expected it to be much worse than it was.

Positive things:
- Marcos Hernández and Anapola Mushkadiz were both non-actors, but did a superb job.
- Explicit sex that fits.
- Fantastic cinematography.
- Anapola Mushkadiz looks great!
Negative things:
- Some religious aspects.
- It's very slow and not much happens, which at times makes it feel longer.

Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 4.5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0/5

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