Plot via Sundance:
Eighteen-year-old Luis (Santiago Sandoval Carbajal) enlists as an infantry cadet in the Heroic Military College in the hopes of becoming an officer and supporting his struggling family. Tucked away in the mountains and surrounded by statues honoring Aztec gods, the school is constructed from giant slabs of stone and ruled by even more rigid rules of conduct. The curriculum combines mundane military training with rituals of abuse and humiliation. When Luis catches the eye of sadistic Sergeant Sierra, he learns new lessons in cruelty and extracurricular criminality.
In David Zoanna’s second feature Heroic there are no heroics. There is just the relentless torture and abuse all military cadets of Mexico’s version of West Point, The Heroic Military College, must endure.
Think of the first half of Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, but much worse.
The college looks like an Aztec temple. The brutal interplay between Luis (Santiago Sandoval Carbajal) and the sadistic Sergeant Sierra (Fernando Cuautle) encounters levels of degradation only exceeded by those seen in Pasolini’s Salo. And believe me, that is the kind of movie you don’t ever want to sit through twice.
The great irony- these military abusers are barely older than the cadets they are training. Like in Salo, these abusers have unlimited power. Every encounter is fetishy recorded under the eye of CCTV.
The frequent hazing scenes are intercut with cadets marching in formation, attending lectures, being told over and over about how Mexican soldiers “must uphold the rights of civil society.”
They live and will know only this dog eat dog, violent, hierarchal existence. Every resistance to it is crushed along with their spirit. You dare not even befriend a stray dog.
Heroic is obviously meant to be an allegory on the rampant violence currently plaguing Mexico.
Heroic gets a 3 out of 5 or a B.
ERÉNDIRA NÚÑEZ LARIOS
MARCO POLO CONSTANDSE
SANTIAGO SANDOVAL CARBAJAL
MÓNICA DEL CARMEN
CARLOS GERARDO GARCÍA
SPANISH AND NÁHUATL
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