The multibillion dollar meth trafficking industry is much in the thoughts of filmmakers at the moment. The much praised Sicario hits our screens next month, while Triple Frontier is still bubbling in development with J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Years) possibly attached. Before either of those, however, comes possibly the starkest look at the subject of them all with the jarring documentary Cartel Land.
Expect to hear plenty about this one in the coming weeks. Director Matthew Heineman took fly on the wall documentary filmmaking to another level by embedding right in the middle of the flying shrapnel of Mexico's Michoacán state. His aim was to chart the war between the citizen vigilantes – the Autodefensas – and the Knights Templar cartel that had inflicted huge damage on the region for many years.
Like Sicario, the film straddles both sides of the border between the US and Mexico. A further strand of the narrative focused on a small guerrilla force known as Arizona Border Recon. Led by military veteran Tim 'Nailer' Foley, Arizona Border Recon aims to interdict the flow of cocaine into the American state's Altar Valley. Figuring out who is actually on the side of the angels here is no easy task...
Cartel Land is out now.