Cartel Land is a documentary produced and directed by Matthew Heineman. It tells about what the Mexican people who joined together under two modern day vigilante groups are doing in, their desperation, to clean up the drug situation in their respective regions. Dr. Jose Mireles aka “El Doctor” is a small-town physician in Michoacán, Mexico who heads up the “Autodefensas” against the very violent “Knights Templar” drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. With unprecedented access, Cartel Land is a riveting, on-the-ground look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley, a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley, Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across the US border.
It’s too bad when citizens have to take matters in their own hands because their government has failed them. To say their tasks are grueling and dangerous, often ending in death is an understatement. These citizens are not really trained in law enforcement and from what I saw, have chosen some tactics that may cross the lines of justice. While anything goes in their situation and while you can’t be to careful, it’s a horrible situation to be in. Cartel Land is informative and shows one of the ways in which to fight a problem that was once deemed hopeless. Cartel Land is now streamed on Netflix and has won countless awards. It’s in Spanish with subtitles.
[CARTEL LAND is nominated for Best Documentary]