Directed by the pleasingly named Everardo Gout, this Mexican thriller recalls the fragmented structure and kinetic vigour of City of God. The film starts out with a question: Can a good man keep his head above an ever-rising tide of corruption?
The answer turns out to be interestingly fraught with ambiguity. Tenoch Huerta plays Lupe, a street cop who's tough on crime and tough on the perpetrators of crime, as witnessed in an opening scene of vicious intimidation. His fate is to be entangled in a kidnapping case whose reverberations will have far-reaching consequences for both his family and colleagues.
Shifting between the summers of 2002, 2006 and 2010 – World Cup years, with the whole country glued to the TV – the film offers a scalding glimpse into Mexico's ransom economy and the tense three-way struggle between cops, kidnappers and victims. Jittery camerawork and sudden close-ups lend a you-are-there immediacy, "there" being a circle of hell you'd do just about anything to avoid.