Luis Estrada has followed up his hugely successful and highly acclaimed social satire “Le Ley de Herodes” with his latest film, “El Infierno” [Eng. Title: Hell]. Even if this story is set in modern day Mexico, both the films deal with crime, corruption, unaccountability and the general ineptness of law. Like its predecessor, El Infierno is a dark comedy drama reminding viewers of the biggest issue raging in their country today – organised crime and mindless violence, and more importantly the system that enables this to happen.
Benny returns to his home town in Mexico after twenty years – he’d just been deported from the US. He returns to sees the place has hardly developed at all – and even worse, overrun by drug-traffickers fighting for turf, much like in northern Mexico today. He hears more bad news – his little brother is dead – he was involved with one of the gangs. While he initially tries to keep away from the business, he gets invited (the poor chap didn’t have a choice) to takes his dead brother’s job by the person for whom he worked. As irony would have it, Benny goes on to become an accomplished assassin himself, and wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. But like in everything in life, there’s always a price to pay..!
Brilliantly written and directed by Estrada, this film couldn’t have been better timed – it was released during Mexico’s bicentennial year, to remind its people the real state of affairs. It’s technical values are equally impressive – be it cinematography, editing, or the awesome soundtrack. As are the performances by all the actors in the film, including the perfectly cast Damián Alcázar who plays Benny. Several actual news events that one would never get to see unless they’re either the victim or perpetrator, are enacted in a gruesomely realistic manner, albeit with a touch of black humour. All I’d say is, if you can understand Spanish, you should give this a go. Highly Recommended Viewing!