Film Review: The Two Escobars – 8/10

‘Not even football could escape the violence…’

COLOMBIA: The Rise and Fall of Narco-Soccer | Center for Latin ...

Any football fan worth his salt has a vague knowledge of Andrés Escobar. The Colombian defender was tragically murdered as a direct consequence of scoring an own goal for his national team in the 1994 World Cup that resulted in their elimination. It is a truly devastating tale and one that would be worthy of a documentary by itself. The subtext behind Andrés Escobar’s murder begins with a different Escobar – Pablo.

Football in Colombia’s golden age was enthralling, exciting and saw the national team rise to the heady heights of #4 in the FIFA world rankings. It was also built almost entirely on drug money. By all accounts, drug lord Pablo Escobar loved football. His investment in Colombian soccer paved the way for a team that were highly fancied at ’94 World Cup. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your allegiance, Pablo had lost his grip on the cartels by the time the World Cup rolled round. The new drug kingpins weren’t as accommodating as Pablo and both players and management alike received death threats going into the tournament. Unsurprisingly, the pressure eventually told on the pitch and Colombia were eliminated. 27-year-old defender Andrés Escobar became the fall guy and the rest is history.

The Two Escobars is an attempt to document the lives of two of the most important men in Colombia during this incredibly volatile period. Fascinating real life accounts combined with utterly gripping archive footage ensure that this documentary transcends football and becomes about something else entirely. It’s about a unique place and a unique time. And for any football fans reading this, it is utterly essential.

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