What to watch this week: Cartel Land by Matthew Heineman

6:58:00 AM

What is it about:

A mirror look at two paramilitary groups, fighting the Cartels on opposite sides of the Mexican Border. In the US, we go on patrol with the Arizona Border Recon, lead by a charismatic Tim Foley. Claiming they want to stop the violence of the Cartels to spill into their country, they are mostly concerned with catching coyotes transporting illegal immigrants across the border.
On the other side, in the Michoacán province, we get to witness the rise, and you could say fall of the Autodefensas, a group of simple men, lead by dr.  Jose Mireles, who took up their arms to free their towns of the Mexican Knight Templar Cartel.

It's a controversial subject; men taking their fate and justice into their own hands. But there is no judgement in Cartel Land. Heimenan and his camera man get so close that they are able to illuminate the exhilaration, the sheer balls, the futility and the tragedy. Like the best documentary it's a psychological study of these men. More than everything it shows how slippery, and deceptive evil is.  A movie about courage and fear. Courage and necessity. And fear and futility.

Why I loved it: Well love is a strong word when a movie has horrific depiction of Cartel violence and violence against Cartels. I had to look away a few times. I read that Heineman was scared filming this. I understand, getting shot at, following Dr. Mireles, knowing the Cartels will try to make an attempt on his life puts you a little to close for comfort. But the story is worth it. It's a Robert Capa-esque front seat look in into a war that killed 80.000 people, and destroyed so many more. It's insightful, and surprising. The men, these leaders are not who they claim to be, but believe with all their hearts in the truths they will ultimately corrupt.
And let's face it, if you are binge watching Breaking Bad, or even Narcos ( different country, same old same old) it's time to see how the real thing is going down. Get it on iTunes now.

Watch the trailer:



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