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1,580 Ratings

Battle in Heaven

Batalla en el cielo

Directed by Carlos Reygadas
Mexico, France, 2005


A big-city crime becomes an unforgivable one: Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby, the baby then dies. Seeking redemption, Marcos confesses the crime to Ana, his boss’ young daughter and a sex worker in an upmarket brothel. One crime leads to another, and Marcos’ path leads him on a pilgrimage.

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Battle in Heaven Directed by Carlos Reygadas
Presenting a characteristically uncompromising vision of human folly, Reygadas’s compelling second feature is also remarkably open to the possibility of redemption and grace.
April 22, 2019
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The fact that it all may seem implausible or even unbelievable is why some people dismiss it, but the fact that Reygadas puts it all on-screen and holds my interest is good enough for me. Although I can’t quite figure out everything that happens here, even with the assistance of the helpful interview, Reygadas’ respect for all his characters kept the proceedings afloat and meanwhile kept me entranced.
December 19, 2014
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Mr. Reygadas clearly wants to say something about his country, to tap into the spiritual and material desperation of its people, but he never finds a way into Marcos that makes you feel the filmmaker’s genuine interest. And he stumbles badly by thinking that a shocking murder can tell us more about how we live and die than a man and woman trying to sell cheap goods to uninterested passers-by.
February 17, 2006
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What are people saying?

  • paul oram's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Another one of Reygadas' troubled souls at a moment of crisis, caught in the battle between his own cultural values and raw compulsions. That'll be good old 'Catholic guilt' then. Of course subjecting his viewer to overweight people having sex, he forces us to confront our own cultural prejudices - Manet's Olympia springs to mind. So Mubi, will you treat us to another Reygadas in 30 days? Hope so.

  • Ben's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Confronting, both thematically and (especially) visually. The film blends religious symbolism with a narrative of poverty and class division, suggesting the path to salvation, and its terminus, can take many forms. A melancholy film personifying a nation's domestic issues.

  • Ghostman's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Carlos Reygadas fulfills the promise he gave when he made Japon, announcing to world cinema he was a filmmaker to be reckoned with; here making a masterpiece that will age as well as any bottle of Pinot Noir dusting away in a decrepit French wine cellar. When I finished the film, I was reminded of the Tarkovsky quote, saying cinema should be about relating one person to the whole world. This film is that & then some.

  • Not A Sexy Vampire's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Overexposed in more ways than one. With washed out visuals and deliberately awful sound mixing, this is an extremely difficult film to watch. However, it never comes together in a way that allows for thematic clarity so ends up feeling like empty provocation. Notable for unusually sexualised bodies (opening inspired similar in Ford's Nocturnal Animals?), less notable for infuriating ending which leaves bitter taste.

  • Renton47's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    It is evident in almost every respect that Battle is intended to be an unpleasant and difficult work - an image-maker of extreme beauty who here washes out almost every image in light or darkness, making the moral dilemma visual. My main issue is this contrast is repeated in almost every scene to point of nausea. That the sublime will always be interrupted by blasphemy is rendered effective and disturbingly.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Tequila vitriol cocktail. Mexico = crime + foot + religion. Too long, endless static shots & fat bodies. This abject affair of a stupid driver with a borderline Lolita gives nausea, incl. blowjobs === Cocktail tequila vitriol. Mexique = crime + foot + religion. Trop de plans statiques, de corps adipeux. Cette histoire abjecte d'un chauffeur stupide avec une Lolita borderline donne la nausée, y compris les fellations.

  • T. J. Mesen's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Though aesthetically in line with the Bresson and Tarkovsky that have influenced his career, it's the most "Mexican" of Reygadas' films in terms of the locations used, the class struggle depicted, its imagery and symbolism. Reygadas' cinema provides a wealth of information, but leaves meaning up to the viewer. This puzzle aims at creating a spiritual crisis, unsolvable perhaps, but wherein lies the heart of the film.

  • Karl J. Kipling's rating of the film Battle in Heaven

    Two things that don't mix: the "art film" and pornography. Wish they would stop trying. Most of the time, as here, the work comes off as something dreamed up by a pretentious adolescent. Again Reygadas apes great filmmakers of old (Bresson, Tarkovsky), but he'll always lack that one essential thing: soul.

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