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In this Academy Award® nominated film, (Best Documentary Feature, 2016), director Matthew Heineman gains unprecedented, on-the-ground access to the riveting stories of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy the murderous Mexican drug cartels. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as 'El Doctor,' leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel. Meanwhile, in Arizona's Altar Valley, 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 our border. Heineman embeds himself in the heart of darkness as Nailer, El Doctor, and the cartel each vie to bring their own brand of justice to a society where institutions have failed.
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A great success of this documentary in my opinion, outside of shedding light on this under reported topic, was to also show how Americans and Mexicans arent all that different. At the end of the day, we are all humans with the same basic problems, and the movie definitely helps to humanize both to each other.
The movie ends ambivalently, picturing Mireles as a man who succumbed to money and women and who became, in his own way, just as murderous as the cartels. Perhaps he was. But one wonders: could he possibly have been just as corrupt as the Policia Nacional? Could he been as adulterous as the cartels' barons? Could he possibly have murdered one-twentieth of the people that the cartels took out?
I really enjoyed this movie, even though the ending as very ambivalent and required some thinking-through
The people behind this went to great lengths to get some really(!) impressive footage. How they convinced people involved to let them film all of this is beyond me.