The Man in the Cowboy Hat (2016)

Carlos Arredondo is best known for saving a life during the Boston Marathon bombing. But the story begins a decade earlier with the death of his own son, Alex, in the Iraq war.


Janice Rogovin




In 1980, Carlos left his homeland Costa Rica for the American Dream. In 2004, three Marines came to Carlos's house to inform him that his oldest son, Alex, had died in Iraq. He entered their military van with a can of gasoline and a propane torch and the van exploded into flames. Carlos's extreme grief over Alex's death launched him on a journey to honor his son and fight for the America he believed in. He sought solace in sharing Alex's story and advocating for the war to end. He became a well known, if unorthodox, peace activist and then a central figure in Occupy Boston. Publicly Carlos had a new purpose. Behind the scenes the story was more complex. More than a decade after Alex's death, the tragedies of war continue to affect thousands of other families in the United States, the Middle East and the rest of the world.

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wish it reached more depth of character - Carlos comes off as a bit cooky
26 March 2017 | by jenniferchacon-90779See all my reviews

Perhaps he is cooky and crazy and if so, the Doc was an honest depiction. A person with such elaborately crafted exhibitions and vehicles would look a bit crazy to onlookers who don't know him.

I felt that I could not see past this broken man's veneer. The death of Alex literally broke this man's soul and spirit.

After Alex's death, their family also lost their father - Carlos - shattered, and unable to provide support to the remaining family who needed it. I think many things - and people - got lost and forgotten in the great grieving of Alex, which ultimately led to more tragedy -- which the film does cover. I would have liked to see an IV with a close friend or family talking about who Carlos was before his son's death and then who he was after. Some of the same pp were interviewed repeatedly but I think other important friends or family are missing. Maybe the Doc did not reach that level of depth bc Carlos was/is not accessible enough for this documentary? (I'm guessing here).

After hearing comments from a couple of his friends after the movie screening, I gladly went to Dartmouth street to make a donation for his fund. I am caught between feeling sad for Carlos and his family but also happy to know they pour themselves into the cause of helping others - walking the walk and not just mouthing the talk.

Yes I now the Doc staff worked on this a long time, but if you could cut another version with a couple in-depth IV's with close friends from MA or even Florida, I think it could pull his story together. Carlos and family show that its never to late to rally for a cause, so it's not too late for this DOC to do the same.

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