So often in war zones, citizens are left stranded in situations that have no clear black and white moral compass, leading them to question where the road truly diverges between right and wrong. Such is the case with the protagonists in Matthew Heineman‘s award-winning documentary Cartel Land. But rather than twiddle their thumbs, these harrowing citizens answer their questions of morality by taking the law into their own hands.
Director Matthew Heineman was initially drawn to the world of Mexican and Arizonan vigilante groups after reading articles about their ongoing involvement in the war on drugs. When he dug deeper, his findings were so chilling and unlike any he’d ever seen, he only knew of one solution: record it all on film.
In Cartel Land, which by the way won both Sundance’s Directing Award and Special Jury Award for Cinematography in U.S. Documentary Competition, Heineman gives his audience unparalleled access to lands overrun by drug cartel both north and south of the U.S./Mexico border. Think Breaking Bad meets Robin Hood, and you have the Autodefensas and team “Nailer,” two vigilante groups who’ve taken it upon themselves to fight against the terrorizing drug lords wreaking havoc in their lands. As you might expect, this true-life western walks a very thin line between good and evil.
We’ve picked up this absolute gem of a documentary, what Collider calls “a tight, dark, and powerful narrative that’s almost too dramatic to be true,” and we’ll be pushing it out digitally and theatrically later this year. For more info, read our official press release, The Hollywood Reporter’s news on the deal, and watch a sneak-peek below: