Tom Shone at More Intelligent Life:
Iñárritu is not the only Mexican searching out flesh tones amid the steel of the Hollywood blockbuster. In “Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón signed George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, cast them adrift in outer space, took all the technical resources that pummel us in the summer months and bent them to a stripped-down tale of survival, with explosions ripping soundlessly across the screen and the audience holding their breath while Bullock struggled for hers. Then there is Guillermo del Toro, more of a genre fiend than his compatriots, but on such intimate terms with the gnarled old souls of his monsters—in films like “Pan’s Labyrinth”, “Hellboy” and “Pacific Rim”—that the whole notion of heroism, let alone super-heroism, is left outclassed.
The three directors are friends and run a production company together. But unlike earlier South American directors, who defined themselves in vocal opposition to the Hollywood machine, the three amigos are the children of globalism, as conversant in franchise formulas as they are in Mexico’s indigenous cinema. Working away at the fault-line that separates north from south, blockbuster export from indie import, they are bilingual, speaking Hollywoodese but making up their own grammar and syntax.
It had to happen. Hollywood’s global supremacy over the last 30 years was always going to bring its own form of blowback.