In the new take on the 2011 Mexican-American indie flick, out Feb. 1, Gina Rodriguez stars as Gloria, a makeup artist who is kidnapped by a drug cartel after witnessing a murder at a nightclub, being forced to smuggle money for them. But it’s up to Gloria to escape, while also saving her best friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo). The story differs a bit from the original Miss Bala, which focuses on beauty queen Laura (Stephanie Sigman), who suffers the same fate. And if you want to stream the original Miss Bala before this new version comes out, you’re in luck.
The flick is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes. But the downside is you’d have to pay for all three options, which all cost the same ($3.99). But the good thing is you can watch it as many times as you want, without the fear of it being removed from the streaming site before you get around to it.
The original Miss Bala received critical acclaim for its fresh way of tackling the thriller genre, showing the story from the point of view of an innocent, naïve woman being forced into a life of crime. And part of what made this film so important was that it showed a harsh reality of criminality in Mexico. According to The New York Times, more than 47,000 people had been killed at the time of the film since President Felipe Calderón deployed the military against the cartels in 2006.
Speaking to Interview, director Gerardo Naranjo spoke about the importance of showing this side of Mexico, despite facing criticism from Mexicans who weren’t happy with the country being shown in a negative light. “I was very upset with the media cover-up of the criminality in Mexico,” explained the director. “I felt most of the movies that dealt with these problems were soap operas that showed the criminals as cool guys, surrounded by women, having a party. Somehow I got the feeling the reality wasn’t like that. When we were doing the research, we found that this world is much grayer.”
In another interview with SBS, Naranjo elaborated further, noting that he wanted to create a thriller that didn’t romanticize a life of crime, as many films in the genre are prone to do. “We didn't want to go into the Pulp Fiction arena where the alter ego of the criminal is a sexy guy; he's mysterious, charming and tells good jokes,” noted Naranjo. “We wanted to talk about how a person is transformed once criminality invades his life. To me, the most difficult process was to find a way to not preach or idolize the criminal world.”
In the past year, we’ve seen more crime thrillers starring women, including Destroyer and Peppermint. Both the original Miss Bala and its remake are part of the expansion of this genre, and with the 2011 version streaming, you can check them both out soon.