30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 16

The Two Escobars (22 Jun. 2010)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Sport
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 2,427 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 36 critic

The rise of Colombian soccer is attributed to the influx of drug money into the sport by Pablo Escobar and the other drug cartels. However, the team's swift decline after Escobar's death results in the murder of star player Andres Escobar.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
María Ester Escobar ...
Francisco Maturana ...
Alexis García V. ...
Jaime Gaviria Gómez ...
Jhon Jairo Velásquez V. ...
Rubén Darío Pinilla C. ...
Juan José Bellini ...
Fernando Rodríguez Mondragón ...
Eduardo Rojo ...
Leonel Alvarez ...
Luz María Escobar ...
Luis Fernando Herrera ...
Fernando Brito ...
Tom Cash ...
Alirio López ...


Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many believe, Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel and the Cali Cartels were largely responsible for financing and building the Colombian National soccer team into one of the world's best. But in an early match against the United States in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, a Colombian defense man named Andres Escobar-no relation to Pablo-committed an own goal that led to the team's elimination. Less than ten days later, Escobar was gunned down outside a bar in a suburb of Medellin. He was shot 12 times, and the murderer shouted "goal" each time the trigger was pulled. Was Escobar's murder an isolated incident, or were gambling organizations controlled by the cartels responsible? Award-winning director Jeff Zimbalist will examine the mysterious events leading up to and surrounding Andres Escobar's death. Written by Anonymous

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22 June 2010 (USA)  »

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A good story
20 September 2010 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

The title is important to note. This is, much like the recent "King of Kong", a strictly structured and carefully trimmed story, grafted out of real events. It is probably mostly true, but what we see is a heavily controlled emotional piece of filmmaking, designed to tug our heartstrings and send a message. It's a bit more "based on a true story" than a documentary.

Still, it's very ambitious and covers a lot of material in an efficient way. As a European, I don't know much about ESPN, but I gather it's a sports channel? If so, it's certainly been brave with this project! Football wonder-child Andres Escobar is not really the main character, but rather the glue that holds the story of Colombia together.

The documentary chronicles the rise of drug barons, the enormous problems the government has with them, and the unfortunate and somewhat perverse infiltration of narco into sport. It's done in an interesting way, keeping focus on the sport when it needs to and on the drugs when it needs to.

All I could have wished for is that the directors could have relaxed a bit in the style section. The shots and music can get a little bit over-dramatic, and some small things become annoying(the reversing of footage when it isn't quite long enough to fit with the pacing, or the mirroring in some interviews). Subtitles seem quite simplistic as well, but I don't speak Spanish, so I can't be sure.

All in all, however, this is a very watchable documentary, both for fans and non-fans of "soccer".

3 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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