Cartel Land

  • Matthew Heineman
  • United States, Mexico
  • 2015
  • 98 min
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Every year the death toll rises in the drug war along the Mexican-American border. The government cannot guarantee safety in the border region, and some inhabitants see no alternative but to take matters into their own hands. Risking his life, filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows two groups fighting the cartels. On the Mexican side, the charming doctor Jose Mireles and his autodefensas hunt gang members; back in the United States, veteran and former drug addict Tim “Nailer” Foley tracks Mexican immigrants and smugglers in the inhospitable desert of Arizona, then hands them over to the authorities. Heineman penetrates deep into the shadowy world of organized crime. We watch masked men make crystal meth, experience frenetic gunfights and gain insight into the personal lives of the vigilantes. Their objective is to fight crime, but in the heat of battle, morals get lost and the line between good and evil isn’t always clear.


  • 98 min
  • color
  • DCP
Matthew Heineman
Tom Yellin for The Documentary Group
Executive producer
Molly Thompson, David McKillop, Robert DeBitetto
Matthew Heineman, Matt Porwoll
Matthew Heineman, Matthew Hamachek, Bradley J. Ross, Pax Wassermann
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