Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS

Drew Tinnin

by: Drew Tinnin
May 4th, 2010

Rating: 5/5

Directors: Jeff and Michael Zimbalist

As Americans, if you had to pick a sport that had been mired in controversy because of drugs over the last decade or so, it’s likely that baseball would spring to mind. Scandal after scandal erupted on and off the field, and even in the courthouse, as one by one the icons of our national pastime fell like dominoes. In the mid-nineties, the meeting of the drug world and the sports world collided in such a profound way that it threatened to destroy an entire country. Columbia during that time, was tangled up in a crisis of identity which centered around two things – cocaine and soccer.

Drug lord Pablo Escobar has become synonymous with the underground world of cocaine and is known the world over. He is infamous and legendary in his excesses and at one time he was worth almost three billion dollars. Andres Escobar is not so known. He was the star of the Columbian soccer team and a national hero during the rise of Pablo. Just as Pablo Escobar became an unstoppable force in the drug world, Columbian soccer reached its peak around the same time, eventually enjoying the ranking of fourth best in the world. These two worlds collided and ushered in a new era in sports known as “narco-soccer”.

In addition to Pablo Escobar, a number of drug dealers during that time realized that soccer could be retro-fitted to be a very successful money laundering operation. If ticket sales were really one million, you could say it was two million thus legalizing one million in drug money in one fell swoop. If you paid a certain amount for a player, claim he held out for more. This was not just a convenient way to clean money, however. Just like the rest of the country, Pablo and the other kingpins were very passionate about soccer. In fact, years later when Pablo was on the run, he would stop in a ditch just to check the score on his radio even though the authorities were hot on his trail. They loved the sport and the players were friendly with Escobar. As the sport evolved to an elite level in Columbia for the first time, the people of Columbia ignored the truth and cheered their team and its benefactor.

The film dovetails wonderfully back and forth between archival footage of Pablo and his men and Andres and his teammates. It’s simultaneously a great sports story and the most insightful, all-encompassing depiction of the legendary drug lord to date.

This could have easily been turned into two documentaries – one about the charity and exploits of Pablo and a separate film dedicated to Andres and the golden era of Columbian soccer. However, those two men were intertwined in such a way that it makes perfect sense to incorporate both individuals into a larger narrative that speaks to Columbia’s struggle to find itself during that time. It’s this marriage that transforms THE TWO ESCOBARS into one of the most exhilarating and emotional documentaries of the last few years.

Commenting Rules: Comments are intended to open up the discussion to our readers about the topics at hand, and as such should be offered with a positive and constructive attitude. If your comment is not relative to the above post or is disrespectful to the authors and readers, we reserve the right to delete it. Continued abuse of our good nature will result in banishment of the offender. Additionally, if you have any burning issues to point out to the GATW crew - typos, corrections, suggestions, or straight-up criticism - please email us instead of commenting here.

  • Tweets that mention Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS » —

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gordon and the Whale, DrewBlood. DrewBlood said: RT @GandtheW: Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS – (See this doc at ALL costs!) [...]

  • Fitness Exercises – What are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise? | Workouts Fitness Wisdom

    [...] Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS » [...]

  • THE TWO ESCOBARS (2010) « CELLUROIDS: A Movie Tally Site

    [...] the rest of my review Here! Tagged with: [...]

  • Miranda Lambert – White Liar |

    [...] Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS » [...]

  • World Wide News Flash

    Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS »…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

  • All Around the World News

    Tribeca 2010 Review: THE TWO ESCOBARS »…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

  • Baby Bottles

    I really liked visiting your blog, and it looks outstanding. If you get a chance you should visit my blog as well. I hope you have a great day!

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Recent Post