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One of the best docs i've seen so far.
Paints two every different sides of rich vs poor
Narco Cultura is a sensationalist depiction of the War on Drugs. It dehistoricizes the topic of narco cultura and narcocorridos. It is perfect to scare the average american and to feed their prejudice about mexicans and Latino immigrants. Schwarz is a war photographer and probably being paid with money from the Merida Initiative to create a onesided straight forward message about Mexico becoming so corrupt that can't even be saved by US intervention.
brillant doc...quite frightening how people have to live
"TERROR NEXT DOOR"
A chilling, haunting, and outright infuriating film about the drug war in Mexico and the Americans who glorify it through music and get rich doing it. Narco Cultura focuses primarily on the Mexican city of Juarez, aka the city with the most homicides in the entire world. That's right, more people are murdered only a few steps outside of El Paso, Texas - America's safest city - than anywhere else in the world. Since the drug war began in 2006, over 60,000 people in Mexico have been slaughtered by the cartels. The police are afraid to fight back, the government employees live in fear, and the people of Mexico trust no one. All while ruthless gangs run free to do as they wish. They refer to the Drug lords as "Robin Hoods" stealing from the rich to feed the poor. They are glorified and idolized as figures of success and wealth while they gun down innocent people by the thousands. How is this happening? A new music trend in the US adds fuel to the fire and perpetuates an idea that to earn respect you must be feared.
Pop culture has power, everyone knows that, so it should come as no surprise that the cartels could see the potential in it. Since the war on drugs began a slow trend has began to grow in the pop world known as Narcocorrido, which glorifies a new "American Dream" of power and riches through drugs and violence; join the cartels and you will be a king, people will respect you, and you will live and die in luxury. The movie follows a young Narcocorrido singer from LA as he ventures to Mexico for the first time and rather than getting the rude awakening you hope he'd get, instead he experiences quite the opposite, and it's enraging. You want so desperately for him to see the light of day and yet all we see if how much fun he has shooting a gun, no matter how bad he is at it.
The sad, deplorable actions of these "artists" profiting off the deaths of so many people is only magnetized by the story of Richi Soto, the Crime Scene Investigator brave enough to even be a part of this movie, who went from processing 320 murders in Juarez in 2007 to as many as 3,622 in 2010 (El Paso had only 5 that year). We follow Richi from murder to murder with sadly no explanations, no names, and no reasons for the killings. Only tears from loved ones who had to stand by and watch as people simply rolled up on them and opened fire. Several of Richi's coworkers were killed, and even a few during the filming of the movie, and even though he claims to be the good guy, he hesitates to tell the full story at times. Only worsening the belief that the good guys are just as bad; that they too are hiding something or are themselves under the control of the cartels. It's not hard to believe with 97% of the murders unsolved, they seem more like body collectors than CSI.
This is a tough film because as much as it tries to get answers, it does not. It's like a chapter in a book not yet finished. It acts more as a tool to expose this music than to stop it or pass judgment. The music, now banned in Mexico, is sold here in Walmart like it's anything else. Walmart first said no to it, but after selling out of a 100 copies at one store in only a week they flooded their other stores with the music. The creator's feel like it'll do to music what rap did. I disagree, I hope someone gets smart and sees the damage it's doing. In Mexico, the cartel will broadcast the music over the police radios after they make a kill. How do these musicians think that is benefitting the world? Many people in the movie fear that the current situation will ruin Mexico's history and it's culture and values will be lost on the new generation.
The movie isn't afraid to expose the wounds of the drug war and the images they do use are shocking. The movie is beautifully filmed but also shows some gruesome killings. Most of the film feels like it's leading up to some grand revelation but none ever comes. The ending hits rather abruptly and leaves more questions than answers. My only hope is that the brave individuals who stood up and spoke out in this film are seen for the heroes they are, and given the respect they deserve. Not the individuals getting it through fear. What they are getting is not respect, there's a deeper problem there. I'm not going to point any fingers, but if I did, I'd be pointing up right now.
Narco Cultura sadly won't earn a spot in classroom education, and probably won't get a very large audience. But the people brave enough to see it and learn what is happening so close to us may be able to better educate people on the horrors happening right next door. For that, Narco Cultura succeeds and is a very important film for mothers and fathers to see and motivate their young ones to make wiser choices when it comes to entertainment. You may not think much of it now, but the glorification of these false "Robin Hoods" is cause for alarm, and this movie does a great job as a call to action for all of us.
FINAL SCORE = 4/5 Bear Paws
MovieBears.com, Las Vegas
Nevada Film Critics Society
The International Academy of Film & Television
Just when I started to regain my faith in humanity, this film comes along and kicks it right back into the gutter. When a community truly faces the end of days and it's celebrated rather than condemned, it's pretty much official: We're fucked as a species.
Los tristes contrastes de los mexicanos
Inside look at the hell going on in Mexico and the idiots who sing along as if it wasn't their own people getting gunned down.
A fascinating subculture.