Friday, April 22, 2011

THE TWO ESCOBARS

The two Zimbalists who directed the documentary THE TWO ESCOBARS came to UC Denver in February to talk about their film, but alas I missed it, as I had another commitment that night. So I rented it via Netflix.

It's a fascinating story about Pablo and Andrés Escobar (unrelated), the Colombian drug kingpin and Colombian soccer star respectively. It's one of those "truth is stranger than fiction" films which would be completely unbelievable if it were not actually true.

In the end, the film works, mostly due to the story. The film-making technique actually gets in the way. The whole style of the film pretty clearly wishes it could have been an episode of the History Channel series GANGLAND. The visual style and the musical styles are almost identical. I'm not sure why they felt the need to make the style more important than the substance. When the story is this good, just let it tell itself.

The film also could use a good editor. Structurally, the film seems like it is about to end about 2/3rds of the way through but then keeps going on forever. It switches from gangster story to sports melodrama with no transition or explanation. I'm guessing that since the movie wound up on ESPN, they were pressured to overplay the sports aspect of the story. It's a good sports story, but this lengthy structure just doesn't work. It's at least 15 minutes too long, and it certainly feels odd to follow Pablo through most of the film and then suddenly switch gears to Andrés.

Nonetheless the real story is so interesting the film is worth watching.
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