Colombia, early 1970s. The story in the series is on behalf of a young and promising agent of the American Drug Enforcement Administration, Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), who flew to Colombia to take part in the fight against the Medellin cartel, headed by the most dangerous drug lord in the world and at the same time one of the richest. people of the world Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (Wagner Moura).
First, the audience is told the backstory about how Pablo, who in those days traded in all sorts of small things such as trading in stolen goods and racketeering, met the chemist Mateo Moreno (Luis Gnecco), nicknamed Cucaracha. Mateo in Chile led a laboratory for the production of cocaine, but Pinochet, when the spread of drugs reached rampant proportions, did not stand on ceremony with drug dealers and their accomplices: his soldiers discovered and destroyed thirty-three laboratories, three hundred and forty-six people involved in the creation and distribution of drugs were arrested and simply shot without much ceremony.
Mateo, justifying his nickname Cockroach, survived, crawled out of a mass grave and fled to Colombia, to Medellin, where he contacted Pablo and offered him a joint business: Cucaracha organizes the work of laboratories, and Pablo must ensure distribution.
In impoverished Colombia, there was no one to push drugs, but Pablo quickly realized what opportunities opened up when delivering cocaine to the States, and, since he was clearly a good organizer, in a short time he managed to organize a wide flow of supplies through the Bahamas to Miami and the surrounding area. (An active part in this was the American pilot Barry Seal, about whom the film “Made in America” with Tom Cruise was shot.)
The series shows how Escobar’s empire was created and grew, how the famous Medellin cartel was created, consisting of Pablo Escobar, Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (Luis Guzman) and the Ochoa brothers, which became the most powerful and most influential cartel in the world.
At the same time, viewers are shown how all this was opposed by DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), Colonel of the Colombian police Horacio Corillo (Maurice Comt) with his squad, Colombian President Cesar Gaviria (Raul Mendez) and other people.
Also, the Medellin cartel was opposed, although less powerful, but nevertheless quite influential, the Cali cartel, founded by the brothers Orejuelo and José Santacruz Londoño.
It was not enough for Escobar to just make crazy money. He wanted to become the president of the country. In his Medellin, Pablo helped poor people a lot, working for his popularity: he built housing for them, hospitals, schools, paid for youth education, while recruiting fighters from them for his army. At some point, Escobar was even able to become the deputy of one corrupt congressman, but the congress did not tolerate him and Pablo was expelled from there.
And then Escobar, who was deprived of his dreams, unleashed a real war against politicians, police officers and everyone who was somehow involved in countering the drug trade. He will lose this war in the end, but it will take another two years before Escobar is finally caught – not without the help of the Cali cartel, the far-right paramilitary group ACCU and the radical left-wing rebel group Los Pepes.
The series is produced by the streaming service Netflix. The creators of the series are the Americans Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro and the Brazilian director Jose Padilla, who in 2007 made the sensational film Elite Squad about the fight against drug traffickers, where the Brazilian actor Wagner Moura played the main role – this is how he looked in that film .
Apparently, it was Padilla who brought Wagner Moura to Narcos, who played Pablo Escobar here. I read that Moura had to seriously improve his Spanish, because Brazil is the only country in Latin America where they speak Portuguese.
Moura and the film crew turned out to be a kind of Escobar. A kind of puffy puffy, pretty enough, funny pulling up his pants and seeming completely harmless.
At the same time, in the series, he personally kills his henchmen, who, in his opinion, deserve death, but he does it as hard, but necessary work. His organizational skills have to be taken on faith, because we are not shown anything like that. But they show what a good son to his mother, a good husband to his wife and a loving father to his children he was. However, we note that Escobar never refused to give a slutty TV presenter, which his wife was well aware of.
No, there is no romanticization of an outright scumbag, especially since the series was still made by the Americans, but the image of Escobar in the series seemed to me not very consistent with what this person really was. After all, he was the most terrible and most powerful drug lord in the world! Such a title cannot simply be bought for money, especially since he was surrounded by no less scumbags – take the same Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha. (By the way, with Gacha in the series, the real story was distorted: here they showed that he was shot by a group led by Javier Peña; in reality, Gacha blew himself up with a grenade when he saw that his son had been shot dead in a besieged house.)
He must somehow stand out among other bandits, which allowed him to stand at the top of this entire hierarchy. I didn’t see it in the series, I wasn’t convinced. No, of course, I understand that real bandits can easily differ from their cinematic images. The same Nucky Johnson, who acted as the prototype for Nucky Thompson from the Underground Empire, had the appearance of an honorable congressman, and he held the entire underground business of Atlantic City with an iron fist.
I read a lot about Pablo Escobar, I was very interested in this character. From what he read, it followed that the real Pablo was incredibly cruel, which horrified everyone who interacted with him: in particular, Pablo did not disdain to personally torture and drill his victims’ knees, and he personally carried out many executions.
In the screen Escobar, this is not. Well, it’s just that at first he was a metalworker, and now he teaches: he used to be a petty racketeer, and then he took up drugs and in a couple of episodes he became a millionaire, the head of all bandits.
On the other hand, I will answer my own claims to myself, but who really knows what Pablo Escobar was like in real life? There are a lot of archival photos and even some videos, and they are shown in the series, but his life, of course, has always been very secretive, so go and understand what he really was like.
A pair of American DEA agents are shown here as undisputed heroes: they fight Escobar with all their might, encountering a misunderstanding of local authorities and obstacles that their own bosses put in their way. Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy is good, and he really looks like the prototype, and Pedro Pascal, who played Javier Peña, is downright excellent. Both are living characters, both solve for themselves a really difficult problem that always arises before people with a similar occupation: if you are fighting lawless people for whom there are no laws at all, then can you defeat them if laws bind you hand and foot ? Well, the question immediately follows from this: if at first you yourself break the law “by half a bump”, then at what point will you catch up with these lawless people? And do you remain on the side of the law if you yourself become an outlaw?
All these questions have been raised many times in books and films. And no one has ever found a clear answer to them, alas. Because it is completely incomprehensible where this border is and whether it exists at all.
In the biography of the “exploits” of Pablo Escobar, although the creators of the series omitted several significant moments – on the orders of the “Colombian Robin Hood” people were killed simply in batches – but they showed the main thing. And the murder of a presidential candidate, and the murder of the Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who kicked Escobar out of Congress, and the explosion of the plane.
Also in the series they showed an interesting story of how Escobar, when terror achieved the cancellation of his possible extradition to the States, built a comfortable prison for himself and, like, “served out” in it, rationally distributing his free time between drinking, swimming pool, tennis court and visiting whores .
Actually, the first season of the series ends with how the government, which, under the terms of the agreement, could not approach this “prison” even for a couple of kilometers, finally sent the special services to capture Escobar and transport him to a normal prison, and the whole second season of his will take a long time.
In the third season, since Pablo was finally finished off in the second season, they focused on the story of the surrender of the Cali cartel, and the fourth season was completely transferred to a separate series called Narcos: Mexico, and, as they say, it’s completely boring to watch.
Nevertheless, I watched the first season of Narcos (interestingly, narcos refer to both cartel members and DEA agents) with great interest. I didn’t see anything so iconic and obligatory for viewing (tea, not Breaking Bad, with which Narcos is for some reason compared), but in general I liked it – primarily because of Pedro Pascal. Well, because of the way it’s all staged: the first season, at least, was still dynamic and combative.
PS Actors Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal with their prototypes.
But Steve Murphy and Javier Peña in their youth.
Narcos movie meaning
Director: Carlo Bernard, Cris Brancato, Doug Miro, Jose Padilla Cast: Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, Pedro Pascal, Joanna Christie, Maurice Comte, Alberto Amman, Paulina Gaitan, Juan Murcia, Jorge Monterrosa, Damian Alcazar
Series, USA-Colombia-Mexico, 2015, 49 min. 3 seasons of 10 episodes