7 March 2014 | paul-allaer
Riveting political and sports documentary
"The Two Escobars" (2010 release; 104 min.) brings the parallel yet indirectly intertwined stories of Pablo Escobar and Andres Escobar (they are not related) in Colombia of the late 80s and early 90s. From humble beginnings Pablo eventually becomes the No. 1 drug king of Colombia, which is saying something. Andres, from equal humble beginnings, eventually becomes a star soccer (football) player, becoming even captain of the Colombian national team, which reaching new peaks as never before, eventually rising to the No. 4 ranking on the FIFA world rankings/. Then comes the 1994 World Cup in the US, where Colombia enters as one of the favorites...
Couple of comments: first, this movie is a riveting political and sports documentary (or is it a sports and political documentary--you decide)., you simply can't make this stuff up. It's the reason why facts always trumps fiction, and why I am such a fan of documentaries. Second, with the passage of time, this documentary, reflecting on events now 20-25 years ago, has become a great time capsule of how things where then. Check out the incredible footage of Medellin, Colombia's second largest city, in the 80s and early 90s, when the drug wars were being played out in the open, every day. Third, the movie does a great job documenting how soccer was used to money-launder drug money, creating Colombia's so-called "narco-soccer" peak in the late 80s (when Andres' team wins the Copa Libertadores, the first Colombian team to do so). At one point, Pablo, then in jail, summons the Colombian national soccer team to come play a soccer game, AT THE PRISON, and they do! It would be the equivalent of a jailed drug king summoning the Yankees for an intra-squad game of baseball, can you imagine? Last but not least, the documentary does a decent job bringing the non-sports angles (drugs and politics) of Pablo Escobar. We see him move heaven and earth to influence the Colombian parliament to abolish extradition to the US. "Sooner a grave in Colombia than a jail in the US", he comments. Wow.
This was originally released in the ESPN 30 For 30 series of documentaries, but the merits of this documentary go far beyond sports. Even if you don't care for sports or for soccer, I guarantee that you will be moved by this documentary. "The Two Escobars" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!