Cartel Land

Sometimes there seems to be nothing to watch on TV, but you think "Oh well, give it a go..." and that's how i ended up watching Cartel Land, a stunning documentary on BBC4. It looks like standard fare; gritty portrait of both sides of the US/Mexico border, chronicling the grief that follows from the cartels' trade in drugs and mirgants.

But it's much, much cleverer than that. It shifts between two groups of vigilantes, apparently unconnected. The US rednecks who see it as their duty to patrol the border, since the government seem to have given up. And then there's the resistance movement in small Mexican towns, challenging the cartels' domination of their lives, and taking up arms because the government seem to have given up...

Early on there's that contrast, between backwoods reaction and courageous defiance, but as the story proceeds the lines get increasingly blurred, and confident judgements get undermined by the passage of time, betrayal and the power of the cartels, not to mention human nature at its frailest. don't take my word for it. Watch it while you can.