Why ‘Cartel Land,’ about American and Mexican vigilantes fighting the war on drugs, could be the upset winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary

Since 2007, Mexico’s drug war has resulted in the murder of more than 100,000 of Mexico’s citizens and brought an influx of violence and drugs into the United States.

Cartel Land,” nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary, could easily take to the podium for the much-coveted award. The film sheds light on a less well-known part of the story: the existence of vigilante groups on both sides of the border to combat the cartels. The film, directed by Matthew Heinemen, focuses on the leaders of both vigilante groups, including a Mexican doctor who has lost faith in his government’s ability to fight the drug lords.

As Heinemen explains, and the documentary reveals, initial assumptions about right and wrong and good and evil prove far too simplistic for this complex war. 

Produced and edited by Josh WolffCinematography by David Fang. 

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