Cartel Land Movie Review: A Mexican Robin Hood Story


This high-drama documentary was filmed by an intrepid filmmaker who literally put himself in the firing line to tell his tale. He shows empathy for the long-suffering Mexicans, disdain for the cartel sewer rats and corrupt government, and along the way reveals a sad truth about the human race. It seems that, despite good intentions, most people need a strong pair of hands to make them behave.

Due to an ongoing failure by the Mexican government to curtail the murderous cartels, Dr. Jose Mireles encourages the inhabitants of the state of Michoacan to rise up. The movement becomes known as Autodefensas and is manned by armed farmers, teachers and anyone else who wants to root out the evil that has consumed their lives. At the same time, on the U.S. side of the Arizona border, an American veteran is experiencing the same frustration with the authority’s inability to stem the flow of illegal immigrants who are trying to reach U.S. soil. He too takes up arms and heads a paramilitary group called the Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to protect the desert corridor between Mexico and U.S. which, for all too pertinent reasons, has become known as Cocaine Alley.


After grabbing his audience, the filmmaker proceeds to tell the story he wants us to see, which is about the vigilantes who wave their fists at the aggressors and refuse to let lawlessness continue unchallenged. Of these rebels, the most fascinating is the charismatic Dr. Jose Mireles, whose presence enchants and motivates with just a few quiet words. His place on the national stage eclipses, by far, the forays in Arizona, where desperate waifs are being rounded up and returned to the hell that, unfortunately, is home.

The audience learns from this story that it’s not a case of the cartels outsmarting the law; it’s a case of a colluding government allowing the cartels to terrorize wherever and whoever they please. The cartels, unlike ISIS, the IRA and all the other psychopaths, can’t use idealism as an excuse, but this shouldn’t mean that they get less attention. If Cuba was placed on a list for sponsoring terrorism, then why not Mexico? Home-grown is becoming more and more popular these days.

Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor – Matthew Heineman


new York 3rd July, 2015

los Angeles 10th July, 2015

Watch the Cartel Land trailer: