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148. Killing Escobar; movie review

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Title : 148. Killing Escobar; movie review
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Cert 15
93 mins
BBFC advice: Contains images of real dead bodies, strong violence, language

We are all wired differently but Mrs W and I were agog when Peter McAleese spoke so easily about killing people and facing death himself.
For many years, McAleese was a mercenary - a word which seems to have faded from the media lexicon.
Back in the 70s and 80s, British guns for hire infamously appeared in the world's trouble hotspots, not concerning themselves with politics but instead with money and what they called action.
McAleese was one such soldier - a man who fought in Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe and was assigned to assassinate the most notorious drug lord the world has seen - Pablo Escobar.
In 1989, the Scottish mercenary and ex-SAS operative was hired by a Colombia drug cartel to lead a small team of ex-special forces commandos on this daring mission.
During David Whitney's Killing Escobar, McAleese tells the story of the expedition to South America alongside contributions from his recruiter, Dave Tomkins, American Drug Enforcement Agency officers and a member of both Escobar's team and the Cali cartel which ordered the killing.
He is open about the operation and himself - a flawed and violent individual whose tough upbringing explains much about the man he became.
To be fair, McAleese doesn't pull any punches on himself - he describes how he was a trained killer and enjoyed the pursuit of the enemy.
He speaks with fondness about how he developed the operation to kill Escobar down to the finest detail.
But he also admits he was a bad husband and father and that his aggression was out of hand.
Killing Escobar is an incredible story, expertly told and benefiting from testimony from key players.
It uses dramatised footage very sparingly alongside incredible contemporary video and stills.
I am amazed that this hasn't been the subject of a mainstream movie with A-list stars but I suppose that the truth is rather too far-fetched.
We were happy to settle for this spellbinding documentary.

Reasons to watch: Incredible true story
Reasons to avoid: People being blase about killing

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Bare bums
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Did you know? Pablo Escobar, the son of a farmer and a schoolteacher, began his life of crime while still a teenager. According to some reports, his first illegal scheme was selling fake diplomas. He then branched out into falsifying report cards before smuggling stereo equipment and stealing tombstones in order to resell them.

The final word. David Whitney: “When my editor and I sat and watched the footage that the men had filmed of their mission we were amazed by the breadth and quality; it was a goldmine! It’s been a long, difficult journey to get ‘Killing Escobar’ to the screen, but I hope audiences will be as thrilled by this incredible true story as I was.” Variety


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