Cartel Land Analysis

Decent Essays

Cartel Land, released in 2015 by Matthew Heineman, captures the movement of citizen resistance in response to Mexican drug cartel crime. The documentary’s central figures are a Mexican self-defense group called the Autodefensas and a paramilitary group called the Arizona Border Recon. The film tells a story about the complex morality of the drug war. Heineman’s film argues that war is never-ending because corruption is inescapable, and it illustrates this through graphic imagery and surprising character development. P1: The most striking moments of Heineman’s film shock the audience through their depictions of horrific violence and its effects. An early scene shows the funeral service of villagers, many of them children, murdered by cartels. A sobbing villager’s interview tells how they were brutally beaten to death. Heineman includes this footage to set the grave tone for the film and create raw pathos. The deaths of the innocent is incredibly compelling, especially when it is shown as shockingly commonplace.The scene is an effective introduction to the violence of the drug war. The scene’s brutality shocks the American audience, who are likely unaware of what life is like in cartel conflict areas, and reminds the Mexican audience of violence that they are familiar with or even personal pain that they themselves might have suffered. The images also establish credibility by showing undeniable evidence of the horrifying reality of the drug war. Heineman chooses to show

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