The documentary Cartel Land looks at Mexico’s drug war from a unique perspective: the people who chose to take up arms against the drug gangs.
The film’s director Matthew Heineman embedded himself with two vigilante groups working to combat the drug cartels on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. He took extraordinary risks to film the shootouts, corruption, greed and torture chambers that make up life in the drug fight. The film explores the sometimes convoluted moral ambiguities of vigilante justice.
Cartel Land follows the doctor José Manuel Mireles, who in 2013 rose to prominence as a leader of the Autodefensas, a vigilante group battling the Knights Templar drug gang in the Michoacán state of Mexico. On the other side of the border, Heineman meets Tim “Nailer” Foley, a former construction worker who leads Arizona Border Recon. The group wants to stop the drug wars from spilling onto U.S. soil.