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The Globe and Mail

Narco Cultura: A chilling look at the living hell of Mexico's drug wars

A scene from the documentary Narco Cultura.

3 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Shaul Schwarz
English, Spanish

Across the border from El Paso, Tex., which statistically qualifies as one of the safest cities in the United States, is Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where the murder rate not only jumped tenfold between 2007 and 2010 – from roughly 400 to roughly 4,000 – but is now globally notorious as one of the most dangerous cities on the planet.

An unflinchingly disturbing and often graphic account of a place plunged into living hell by the arrival of the drug wars, Shaul Schwarz's documentary tracks two lives utterly defined by the deadly new economy: one a police forensic investigator and family man who fears daily for his life, and the other a rising pop singer cresting toward fame on a wave of songs that celebrate the killers as "modern-day Robin Hoods."

Chilling, chilling stuff.

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