HEROD'S LAW Add To My Top 10

Content -4
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: June 13, 2003

Starring: Damián Alcázar, Leticia Huijara, Pedro Armendáriz, Guillermo Gil, Isela Vega, and Alex Cox

Genre: Satire

Audience: Adults REVIEWER: Dr. Tom
Snyder HEROD’S LAW is said
to be the movie that helped
bring down the ruling party in
Mexico, PRI, in 2000. Indeed,
it is a vicious satire of the
political and social
corruption that has
insidiously grabbed hold of
many parts of that country
south of the border. It’s
way over the top, however, and
it contains lots of crude
language, disturbing violence,
and graphic sexual situations.
Adding insult to injury, the
only clergyman depicted in the
movie is a Roman Catholic
priest who takes bribes,
engages in spiritual and
political extortion, and says
that the local brothel in a
small isolated village
provides a positive social
function for the
community. Set in 1949, the
movie opens with a political
boss named Lopez, who’s
working for an ex-general
running for governor,
suffering a minor crisis in a
small isolated Indian village
called San Pedro. The
villagers have just killed
their third mayor in five
years, and Lopez needs someone
to keep them quiet until after
the election. Lopez appoints
Juan Vargas, a naïve,
not-too-bright, unkempt minor
official, to be the new
mayor. To their chagrin, Juan
and his beautiful wife,
Gloria, discover that San
Pedro is a very tiny backwater
town whose most successful
business is the local house of
prostitution. Juan also
discovers that the last mayor,
who was beheaded with a
machete, left no money in the
treasury. With the opposition
party leader demanding
reforms, Juan decides to go
back to Lopez and ask for more
money. Juan actually believes
the propaganda of his
party’s alleged commitment
to “modernity and social
justice.” When he gets to
Lopez, however, Lopez gives
him a gun and a Mexican law
book. He tells Juan to go back
to San Pedro and get the money
he needs by taxes, fees, and
fines. Lopez also tells Juan
about Herod’s Law, which,
cleaned up for our readers,
means, “Do unto others
before they do unto
you.” Armed with his new
authority, Juan returns to San
Pedro and begins enforcing the
laws. The money starts flowing
into San Pedro’s treasury,
but it corrupts Juan and his
wife. Juan starts taking
bribes, including enjoying the
services of the prostitutes in
the local brothel. When the
woman running the brothel
fights back by hiring a thug
to beat him up, however, Juan
murders both her and the thug,
and frames the local leader of
the opposing party. More
murder and corruption
ensues. Only just released in
the United States, HEROD’S
LAW is an all-out attack on
the PRI, the socialist
political party that ruled
Mexico for so many years. No
doubt, officials from PRI
probably were involved in the
kind of murder and political
corruption depicted in the
movie, but the character of
Juan takes those things to
such a high degree that some
viewers might not find the
story believable. They should
remember, however, that many
dictators like Juan Vargas
have in actual fact become so
brutal and corrupt. One need
only think of such dictators
as Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin,
and Saddam Hussein to know
that this is indeed the case.
The comical tone of HEROD’S
LAW, however, and its
outrageous characterizations
take the edge off the story
and may actually contribute to
the movie’s lack of
believability. At any rate,
although HEROD’S LAW
succeeds in exposing the
corruption of a country which
was ruled by one party for so
long, it shows little
restraint in depicting the
foul language and sexual
immorality in its story. Also,
the Roman Catholic priest in
San Pedro is nearly just as
corrupt and hypocritical as
Juan becomes. There is no
positive Christian content to
refute this depiction of a bad
religious leader. Finally,
although HEROD’S LAW is not
a gory movie, its violence is
very strong and disturbing.
Juan commits several
point-blank political
assassinations. Furthermore,
although he cheats on his
wife, he beats his wife when
she finally cheats on
him. Thus, despite making a
good argument against high
taxes, the depiction of
political, religious, and
sexual corruption in HEROD’S
LAW is ultimately a humanistic
depiction. The movie
effectively skewers Mexico’s
political and religious
leaders, but it offers nothing
positive to counterbalance
those negative portrayals.
Compare this with a political
satire like the brilliant DR.
STRANGELOVE, where at least
you have Peter Sellers’
positive depiction of the
earnest, morally upright
British officer, Mandrake, who
tries to stop the nuclear
mayhem that eventually occurs
in that movie. Please address
your comments to: No address
available.

Rating: R

Runtime: 123 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(HHH, AbAbAb, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, D, MMM) Very strong humanist worldview with a very strong anti-clergy portrayal; 102 obscenities, two light profanities, and man urinates on enemy’s grave; very strong violence, more disturbing than bloody, includes pointblank political assassinations, implied decapitation, man slits another man’s throat, man beats up town mayor, and unfaithful man beats his wife and chains her up when she cheats on him; depicted fornication, depicted adultery, and depicted prostitution; upper and rear male and female nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and political corruption, extortion, bribery, hypocrisy, and bearing false witness.

GENRE: Satire

HHH

AbAbAb

LLL

VVV

SSS

NN

AA

D

MMM

Summary:

HEROD’S LAW, a political satire from Mexico, tells how that country’s political and social corruption envelopes a minor, not-too-bright bureaucrat, who becomes more adept at bribery and murder than the leaders in his party. Although HEROD’S LAW succeeds in exposing the corruption of a nation ruled by one political party for so long, its humanist worldview shows little restraint in depicting foul language, sexual immorality, and religious corruption.

Review:

HEROD’S LAW is said to be the movie that helped bring down the ruling party in Mexico, PRI, in 2000. Indeed, it is a vicious satire of the political and social corruption that has insidiously grabbed hold of many parts of that country south of the border. It’s way over the top, however, and it contains lots of crude language, disturbing violence, and graphic sexual situations. Adding insult to injury, the only clergyman depicted in the movie is a Roman Catholic priest who takes bribes, engages in spiritual and political extortion, and says that the local brothel in a small isolated village provides a positive social function for the community.

Set in 1949, the movie opens with a political boss named Lopez, who’s working for an ex-general running for governor, suffering a minor crisis in a small isolated Indian village called San Pedro. The villagers have just killed their third mayor in five years, and Lopez needs someone to keep them quiet until after the election. Lopez appoints Juan Vargas, a naïve, not-too-bright, unkempt minor official, to be the new mayor.

To their chagrin, Juan and his beautiful wife, Gloria, discover that San Pedro is a very tiny backwater town whose most successful business is the local house of prostitution. Juan also discovers that the last mayor, who was beheaded with a machete, left no money in the treasury. With the opposition party leader demanding reforms, Juan decides to go back to Lopez and ask for more money. Juan actually believes the propaganda of his party’s alleged commitment to “modernity and social justice.”

When he gets to Lopez, however, Lopez gives him a gun and a Mexican law book. He tells Juan to go back to San Pedro and get the money he needs by taxes, fees, and fines. Lopez also tells Juan about Herod’s Law, which, cleaned up for our readers, means, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

Armed with his new authority, Juan returns to San Pedro and begins enforcing the laws. The money starts flowing into San Pedro’s treasury, but it corrupts Juan and his wife. Juan starts taking bribes, including enjoying the services of the prostitutes in the local brothel. When the woman running the brothel fights back by hiring a thug to beat him up, however, Juan murders both her and the thug, and frames the local leader of the opposing party. More murder and corruption ensues.

Only just released in the United States, HEROD’S LAW is an all-out attack on the PRI, the socialist political party that ruled Mexico for so many years. No doubt, officials from PRI probably were involved in the kind of murder and political corruption depicted in the movie, but the character of Juan takes those things to such a high degree that some viewers might not find the story believable. They should remember, however, that many dictators like Juan Vargas have in actual fact become so brutal and corrupt. One need only think of such dictators as Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, and Saddam Hussein to know that this is indeed the case. The comical tone of HEROD’S LAW, however, and its outrageous characterizations take the edge off the story and may actually contribute to the movie’s lack of believability.

At any rate, although HEROD’S LAW succeeds in exposing the corruption of a country which was ruled by one party for so long, it shows little restraint in depicting the foul language and sexual immorality in its story. Also, the Roman Catholic priest in San Pedro is nearly just as corrupt and hypocritical as Juan becomes. There is no positive Christian content to refute this depiction of a bad religious leader. Finally, although HEROD’S LAW is not a gory movie, its violence is very strong and disturbing. Juan commits several point-blank political assassinations. Furthermore, although he cheats on his wife, he beats his wife when she finally cheats on him.

Thus, despite making a good argument against high taxes, the depiction of political, religious, and sexual corruption in HEROD’S LAW is ultimately a humanistic depiction. The movie effectively skewers Mexico’s political and religious leaders, but it offers nothing positive to counterbalance those negative portrayals. Compare this with a political satire like the brilliant DR. STRANGELOVE, where at least you have Peter Sellers’ positive depiction of the earnest, morally upright British officer, Mandrake, who tries to stop the nuclear mayhem that eventually occurs in that movie.

Please address your comments to:

No address available.

SUMMARY: HEROD’S LAW, a political satire from Mexico, tells how that country’s political and social corruption envelopes a minor, not-too-bright bureaucrat, who becomes more adept at bribery and murder than the leaders in his party. Although HEROD’S LAW succeeds in exposing the corruption of a nation ruled by one political party for so long, its humanist worldview shows little restraint in depicting foul language, sexual immorality, and religious corruption.

In Brief: