Though undeniably reminiscent of the aforementioned Elite Squad films and several of fellow Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu's finest exports, Gout's Days of Grace does have a certain level of brains behind its brash brawn. The Mexican capital is presented as a nightmarish dystopia where an individual's hopes and dreams are crushed almost on conception - and 'doing the right thing' a fanciful notion at best. Huerta's Lupe is our pistol-toting guide into this murky underworld, brought into an elite narc squad by his congratulatory Comandante (José Sefami) following a frenetic daytime shoot-out. However, Lupe's actions prove to have severe consequences for both himself and his young family.
As with the work of Iñárritu, the less you know about the interweaving plot-lines that flesh out Days of Grace, the better. It's certainly the film's strongest suit, as Gout's own visual indulgences (several film stocks are used for no greater purpose than to distinguish time frames) can quickly grate on those audiences already familiar with the striking stylistics employed by key comparables Amores Perros (2000) and Fernando Meirelles' masterful City of God (2002). Nevertheless, Gout should be praised for presenting contemporary Mexico with precious little of the tourist baiting, tequila-soaked charm it's so often lumbered with.
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