With unprecedented access, Cartel Land is an alarming journey with two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels.
WINNER: DIRECTING AWARD, US DOCUMENTARY, SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, 2015
The Guardian’s one film you should watch this week
★★★★ “It’s undeniably exciting, superbly shot and full of jaw-dropping revelations” – Total Film
“If you thought breaking bad was terrifying. Wait until you see the real drug war.” – Esquire
It’s Oscars time, pick a winner! In the run up to awards season, catch up on some of the docs that made the shortlist and select what you think will win the top prize at the Academy Awards in February 2016. The story of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels. Filmmaker Matthew Heineman embeds himself in the heart of darkness to document their different approaches in the violent struggle against a common enemy – the Knights Templar cartel.
A small town physician from the Mexican state of Michoacan is the unlikely leader of the Autodefensas, a powerful citizen group fighting back against the Knights Templar. Known as El Doctor, he is a hero in the region. Across the US border, in Arizona’s Altar Valley, Tim ‘Nailer’ Foley, an American veteran, is dealing with the cartels in his own unique way. He runs a paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, they operate in a narrow 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley. For many these two men and the groups they lead represent the last defence against Mexico’s powerful cartels but as Heineman’s thrilling documentary reveals, it’s not a simple case of good versus evil.