Two Escobars (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Two Escobars
Escobars captures the passion and personality of a group of exceptional athletes and their ecstatic bond with fans.
Pic pulses with the same rhythmic mastery achieved in the filmmakers' earlier Favela Rising.
Meticulously researched and beautifully interwoven, with the story of one man rhyming with the other, The Two Escobars could be a companion to the great Italian gangster movie Gomorrah...
This is simply pop sociology, putting too much emphasis on the first word and displaying too facile an understanding of the second one.
Audience Reviews for Two Escobars
"Life doesn't end here".
The Two Escobars, by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, looks back at Colombia's World Cup run and the relationship of association football and the country's criminal gangs - notably the Medellín Cartel run by Pablo Escobar.
The title is important to note. This is a strictly structured and carefully trimmed story, grafted out of real events. It is probably mostly true, but what we see is a heavily controlled emotional piece of filmmaking, designed to tug our heartstrings and send a message. It's a bit more "based on a true story" than a documentary. Still, it's very ambitious and covers a lot of material in an efficient way. Football wonder-child Andres Escobar is not really the main character, but rather the glue that holds the story of Colombia together. The twin narrative is fast-paced, cutting from one story to the other, with contributions by interested parties, especially on the football side. The viewer is left in no doubt as to the lawlessness of the country and the delicate position its sportsmen were placed in by having to cooperate with the drug-lord paymasters. Verite footage of the rise and fall of the national football team and Pablo Escobar are interspersed with the interviewees to tell a shocking story. I found it fascinating and found myself feeling naturally sorry for the gentleman footballer so senselessly killed but much more ambivalent, as I believe I was meant to over the Robin Hood-type figure of the altogether more complex Pablo Escobar.
Despite being more than a little overproduced, "Two Escobars" has a very good starting point of one coincidence, that of two very disparate and not-related individuals in Colombia named Escobar, Pablo, drug kingpin and murderer, and Andres, star soccer player. That's not to mention some very good home footage that I would like to know how the filmmakers got their hands on. However, even after hearing from friends and relatives(some of whom you would not take home to meet your parents while others work on their image) of both men, we get little depth on Andres, outside of a petition for beatification. As for a connection, that comes down to soccer in Colombia in the 1980's which became a prime point for money laundering which helped the sport thrive there, climaxing with the country's sole World Cup berth in 1994 in the United States. That's not to mention the speculation that Pablo's death led indirectly to Andres' death.
Those deaths and many others "Two Escobars" wants to desperately pin on the evil of drugs but it is never that simple. In fact, I think it has more to do with escalation and how violence never solves anything. To start, Pablo becomes a hero to the poor despite his unsavory profession and body count, because the Colombian government does very little to alleviate poverty in its own country while he builds housing and helps in other ways. Instead said government takes a lot of American money to get rid of Pablo which ups the body count. Along these same lines, an interesting line of thought that is never explored is Colombia's relation to the United States and how that affected the lives of both men.
One of the best documentaries I have seen. The film was very engaging, and very heartbreaking.
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