Bleak Street

Bleak Street ★★★★

Arturo Ripstein’s Bleak Street is a crude, black-and-black, unsentimental view of desperation and woe on Mexico’s Poverty Row. Despite what Variety or The A.V. Club might make you think, psychologically complex characters are not this film’s goal. It milks a mood (down-and-dirty Mexican backstreets) for all it’s worth, and for a higher purpose. This is fairy tale journalism drenched in mercury and sewage. It has the raggedness of a soiled comic book: used-up, forgotten, yet glinting with occasional hints of hushed-“a” artistry. The pop of Ripstein’s bas-relief stems from its unflinching commitment to portraying the muck of Mexico’s fallen and forgotten.

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