In this classic Western set in the 21st century, vigilantes on both sides of the border fight the vicious Mexican drug cartels. With unprecedented access, this character-driven film provokes deep questions about lawlessness, and the breakdown of order.
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A tonal disaster that was presumably almost entirely sieved of social or artistic value in the editing. I am sure something more than serviceable could have been done w/ the material that was collected. Cartel Land, as it stands, is decidedly less than serviceable. Wades into a mire and gets lost. Lost without GPS. At first it seems like a recruitment video for the forces of chaos. It ends conclusively (?) hopeless.
Cartel Land feels like an almost impossible piece of documentary cinema. The film shows the lives of two men who have taken justice into their own hands as governments have failed them, one in Arizona and one in Mexico. Most stunningly is the portrayal of the rise and fall of the Autodefensa freedom fighter movement and it's leader "The Doctor" Mirales. People will be talking about Cartel Land for a long time.
Even momentarily heedless, the film proves to be strong when exhibits in loco the brutality and constant insecurity of the operations whose intention is to stop the terrifying actions and shameful business carried out by the merciless organized crime. (3.5 stars)
Wow, the real deal. As a Mexican I was expecting a much blander documentary and boy was I wrong. The American border part was ok, but the juice is really on the Mexican story.
5/5 Mexican side, 3/5 American side.
Loved it. This is one of these rare drug/political documentaries which show how pointless it all is in a country overridden by corruption and drug traffic in which everybody scores although it's technically illegal, and everybody double crosses one another.
I was initially excited to see this documentary. Unfortunately what starts off as a powerful insight into the perilous lives of many Mexicans living under cartel rule, finishes as a lot of amazing footage that really lacks context to those living outside Mexico. The issues facing Mexico and the many groups involved is definitely a complex one, but I feel the film wavers and loses direction.
"Cartel Land" takes full advantage of the strategic spot within its subject and succeeds by relentlessly showing the rise and fall of a well-intentioned but complex social movement, destroyed by politics, media intervention, and ultimately betrayed by the greed of power humans have always been tempted to. While the country is living its most difficult years in recent memory, it definitely hits a nerve.