The Cartel (2010)

The Cartel



Critic Consensus: Director Bob Bowdon may make some strong points in The Cartel, but they're drowned out by his grating screen presence and amateurish filmmaking.

Movie Info

About The Cartel | Teachers punished for speaking out. Principals fired for trying to do the right thing. Union leaders defending the indefensible. Bureaucrats blocking new charter schools. These are just some of the people we meet in The Cartel. The film also introduces us to teens who can't read, parents desperate for change, and teachers struggling to launch stable alternative schools for inner city kids who want to learn. We witness the tears of a little girl denied a coveted charter school … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Kids & Family, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Bob Bowdon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 12, 2014
Independent Pictures - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for The Cartel

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (15)

With its clunky chalkboard chapters and a parade of static talking heads too often repeating the filmmaker's underlying theme of political corruption and union myopia, it's a C theatrical experience. Maybe a C+ for right intentions.

Full Review… | April 30, 2010
Denver Post
Top Critic

The film -- for which Bowdon directed, wrote, narrated, produced, operated a camera, composed music and sang -- spends a little too much time on static shots of flickering computer screens filled with gray text, and it has the look of cheap video.

Full Review… | April 30, 2010
Washington Post
Top Critic

There are plenty of legitimate grievances here, but like Michael Moore at his pushiest, Bowdon often undermines his own argument with obvious factual cherry-picking.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Bowdon makes an insufferable first impression, and his movie often looks as if it were shot with a camera-phone (for good measure, he includes actual camera-phone footage, which admittedly looks worse than his).

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Bowdon makes a compelling argument against the defensive maneuvers of teachers' unions and in favor of vouchers and charter schools, but his documentary is no exercise in free-market cant.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Watching this film, you'd think that most public schools were Mafia-run slaughterhouses and most charter schools were urban academies with high success rates. Bowdon barely mentions the religiosity and profit motive behind some charter schools.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

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