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Narco Cultura (2013)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 5

Disturbing, thought-provoking, and timely, Narco Cultura sheds some crucial light on an important -- and underserved -- subject.


Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 4

Disturbing, thought-provoking, and timely, Narco Cultura sheds some crucial light on an important -- and underserved -- subject.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,685

My Rating

Movie Info

To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco-traffickers have become iconic outlaws, glorified by musicians who praise their new models of fame and success. They represent a pathway out of the ghetto, nurturing a new American dream fueled by an addiction to money, drugs, and violence. From war photographer Shaul Schwarz comes NARCO CULTURA, an explosive look at the drug cartels' pop culture influence on both sides of the border as experienced by an LA narcocorrido singer


Documentary, Special Interest

Feb 25, 2014


Cinedigm Entertainment Group - Official Site External Icon

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November 21, 2013:
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November 20, 2013:
Shaul Schwarz Talks Narco Cultura
The veteran photojournalist offers some behind-the-scenes perspective on his new documentary.


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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (5)

Photojournalist Shaul Schwarz's powerful documentary Narco Cultura gets inside the world of two men who, in very different ways, inhabit this horror.

December 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This issue-based journalism piece yields diminishing returns the deeper it digs.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An eye-opening examination of Mexico's blood-soaked drug war and its unsettling pop-culture side effects, Narco Cultura is as overwhelming as it is absorbing.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This haunting documentary contrasts songs saluting Mexican drug lords as heroic bandits with the harrowing reality of life in murder-stained Juarez.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Orange County Register
Orange County Register
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This dispassionate but devastating film looks at the drug wars from two very different but chillingly complementary perspectives.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After watching "Narco Cultura," it's hard to imagine any "recreational" user of pot wondering whether the joint he or she just smoked isn't soaked in human blood.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Narco Cultura is terrifying, and impossible to forget.

August 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

Half of this film is a great, unforgettable look at the bloodiest battle ground in the War on Drugs. The other half is a muddled, almost pointless exploration of a subject that has very little to do with the great half.

May 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Nonfics

Right out of the headlines, "Narco Cultura" is a documentary that offers insights into the world of drugs and music, north and south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

March 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

This documentary film opens with grim scenes of blood and death, and it doesn't get any better after that.

January 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

It's impossible to watch Shaul Schwarz's grueling documentary about the Mexican drug wars and their influence on the whole of Mexican society without wondering how on earth such a hell on earth could have erupted right in our back yard.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Schwartz doesn't flinch with his camera. "Narco Cultura" contains footage that is deeply disturbing on a number of levels.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Tubas, accordions and beheadings. Hmmm...

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Tucson Weekly
Tucson Weekly

The soundtrack of your death.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: RedEye

Mexico's drug war has spawned death and destruction rivaling the largest military conflicts and the show is just beginning.

December 1, 2013 Full Review Source: It's Just Movies
It's Just Movies

The Mexican drug wars have claimed approximately 60,000 lives in the last six years. You can purchase the soundtrack on iTunes.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Although it would have benefited from some expert testimony, the film does capture the Mexican equivalent of gangsta rap.

November 24, 2013 Full Review Source:

...Narco Cultura is gripping, gruesome and arresting; a disquieting look a pop (sub)-culture phenomenon that is mushrooming all over the United States and Latin America.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Audience Reviews for Narco Cultura

Engaging documentary on narcotic traffickers and how they've become a popular source of inspiration for young people looking to escape poverty. The footage is intense, fascinating and eye opening. The filmmakers show the subjects who they really are, lowlifes and scumbags. The singers in the film may think they're doing something great, but they're nothing more than glorified thugs give the Mexican culture a bad name. Add to that, that they take inspiration from drug kingpins, and it's a shocking aspect that you simply cannot believe. These upcoming artists are gaining momentum through their music which is filled with violent content, taken from the real live drug wars waged in Mexico. This is a riveting film, one that manages to tell an impressive, shocking story, and the filmmakers craft a film that doesn't shy away from its subject and is a memorable documentary. I had high hopes that Narco Cultura would be a great documentary, but after seeing it, I felt that it left some important details out, and in some aspects, the filmmakers could have gone deeper in the film's subject. Narco Cultura is interesting for what it tries to accomplish, but at times it does leave a bit to be desired in terms of content. There is no denying that the subject presented in this documentary is very good, but the filmmakers could have done a bit better as well. Narco Cultura is good, but it never is great, and it does fall short of what it could have been. You'll get an interesting portrait of this unique culture of artists who take inspiration from the Mexican Drug war, but at the same time, you'll get a feeling these "artists" are nothing more than scumbags who try to gain fame by idolizing drug dealers and singing about their exploits.
March 3, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

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