The Cartel

2009, Documentary, 1h 30m

29 Reviews 100+ Ratings

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critics 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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

An investigation reveals vast underachievement by the U.S. educational system.

Cast & Crew

Bob Bowdon
Screenwriter
Bob Bowdon
Original Music
David Wittlin
Film Editor

News & Interviews for The Cartel

Critic Reviews for The Cartel

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (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.

    April 30, 2010 | Rating: 2/4
  • 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.

    April 30, 2010 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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).

    April 29, 2010 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    April 29, 2010 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    April 29, 2010
  • Director Bob Bowdon is in the Michael Moore mold, except his Gotcha! style of filmmaking is more likely to be supported by facts.

    April 23, 2010 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • 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.

    April 30, 2010 | Rating: 2/4
  • 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.

    April 30, 2010 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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).

    April 29, 2010 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    April 29, 2010 | Full Review…
  • But this amateurish, ultimately poorly argued documentary isn't likely to convert many of those on the fence on this issue.

    July 18, 2010 | Rating: 2/10 | Full Review…
  • In The Cartel, New Jersey public schools are an example of what's going wrong in U.S. school systems generally, despite a "spending explosion."

    May 12, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Cartel

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