Cartel Land, a film by Matthew Heineman
I apologize for my 9 month nap. I am back and just in time for the Oscars!
There was no better way to break out of hybernation than watching Cartel Land. Not since Restrepo, had I seen a filmmaker physically risk his life to capture such sordid stories as those of the anti-cartel vigilante group Autodefensas and those behind one of many meth-cooking operations deep in the Mexican jungle.
As in all great documentaries, a filmmaker sets out on a journey to tell one story, and along the way finds many twists and turns and curves that lead them on a path to a much different, and in this case, all-important story.
Heineman followed not only the Autodefensas and their leader at the time, but he gained the trust of Tim ‘Nailer’ Foley, leader of the Arizona Boarder Recon, and was able to follow Tim and his men while they patrolled the US – Mexico Boarder in Southern Arizona.
Throughout the film, you can feel the passion Heineman felt for the stories unfolding all around him. He put himself in a position to film in real time, to capture things as they were happening. Whether that was a man being interrogated at gunpoint, or a takedown by Foley and his men, what Heineman and his small crew did was brave. He put himself in complete danger to allow us to see first hand how cartel violence is affecting everyday people. He captured men and woman rising up to fight back and the potential outcome that may lead to.
When asked about the film, Heineman said, “I thought it was this very simple story of good versus evil, guys in white shirts versus guys in black shirts. Then over time, those lines between good and evil became ever more blurry.” His love of storytelling and his desire to tell this story from the inside rather than the outside may just be the best documentary of 2015.
“You can’t stop the cartel, no matter what you do…it’s a never ending story.”
– annoymous meth cook & member of the Policia Estatal Fuerza Rural