Cartel Land – Director, Matthew Heineman

This is one of the 2016 Oscar nominated feature length documentaries. I recommend watching it either before or after you watch Sicario because it deals with the same topic only the real thing. The film follows two vigilante groups that are fighting the Mexican drug cartels. One is a US group of well armed men living in border towns in Arizona and the other is a group in central Mexico defending their homes and towns against the local drug gangs. The remoteness of the two areas has allowed the cartels to take over and the local populations have suffered as a result. Both areas are not adequately policed and so the citizens are on their own. Some decide to take on their own defence. The legal and moral issues that are looked at in Sicario are revealed here in stark reality. Both the cartels and the vigilantes are living in a lawless environment. While the vigilantes try to draw a distinction between themselves and those they are fighting the lines tend to blur. The moral compromising is illustrated with the occasional comments of a group of poor Mexican farmers who cook the crack cocaine and meth and grow the marijuana that the cartels sell. They are “philosophical” about it. Nothing will change and someone will do the job if they don’t. Its quite depressing to watch. A very good documentary but don’t take it from me. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 90% positive ratings and hey… it’s a Netflix production so easily available to everyone.