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critics consensus

Raw, brutal, and bitter, Cartel Land offers a ground-level look at vigilante efforts to thwart organized crime at the Mexican-American border. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Filmmaker Matthew Heineman examines the the state of the ongoing drug problem along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Cast & Crew

David McKillop
Executive Producer
Kathryn Bigelow
Executive Producer
Robert DeBitetto
Executive Producer
Molly Thompson
Executive Producer
Matthew Heineman
Cinematographer
H. Scott Salinas
Cinematographer
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News & Interviews for Cartel Land

Critic Reviews for Cartel Land

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (90) | Rotten (10)

  • Heineman goes through the gates of Hell and comes back empty-handed.

    September 10, 2015 | Rating: 2/5
  • Horribly real, an urgent and alarming account of a crisis so hellishly labyrinthine it's hard to see how anyone can escape its widening web of violence, extortion and corruption.

    September 7, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Matthew Heineman's documentary about the Mexican drug wars plays like a real-life version of some grim Sam Peckinpah Western in which violence and corruption have become endemic.

    September 4, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The road to hell, as paved with best intentions, has never looked better.

    September 4, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Thoroughly researched, occasionally engrossing, but ultimately frustrating.

    September 3, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • There's no doubting Heineman and his crew's audacity as they venture close to the line of fire, but the commitment to observing dispassionately at all times starts to feel a bit like a cop-out.

    September 3, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cartel Land

  • Apr 04, 2016
    Reality has Never Been so Riveting A visceral, kinetic, breath-taking, and highly effective documentary, Cartel Land is a film that stands above the rest in its story-telling and authenticity. The embedded filmmaker follows two organic resistance groups to the incredibly violent drug cartels, a group of disgruntled and frustrated militia members on the US side, an an armed civilian uprising on the Mexican side. What results is a film that absolutely mesmerizes the viewer with heart-pounding action, first-person testimony, and undeniable carnage. You can read about Cartel violence or be transported to it with this documentary, a film that is apolitical and only seeks to inform. Excellent 4.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2016
    Could not stop watching this....this is just a fascinating film. Glad that it got nominated for best documentary.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2015
    http://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/cartel-land-dir-matthew-heineman-2015.html
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2015
    What is most admirable in this excellent film is how Heineman risks his life in the middle of the crossfire with his camera so that he can show us this tragic, appalling and complex situation to which there seems to be no solution and where one step forward means two steps back.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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