Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ESPN 30 for 30 - The Two Escobars

Sharon, Jack and I watched The Two Escobars. This is the sixteenth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 film series.

The title characters are Andrés and Pablo Escobar. Andrés Escobar was the captain and the face of the Columbia National Soccer Team in the early 90's, while Pablo Escobar was an infamous Columbian drug baron. The film looks at their rise to fame, how their lives became intertwined and their demise.

At a time when rival drug cartels warred in the streets and the country’s murder rate climbed to highest in the world, the Colombian national soccer catapulted out of decades of obscurity to become one of the best teams in the world. The film has some great game footage chronicling the team's rise. Colombia was a favorite to win the 1994 World Cup. Just as quickly, everything collapsed.

Columbia's unexpected loss to the USA in the 1994 World Cup is a pivotal event in the film. I was there in the Rose Bowl when Andrés Escobar scored an own goal that cost his country the game.

I was surprised when the film was first shown on ESPN Deportes, the ESPN Spanish Language channel, and then shown on ESPN the following night. It turns out that the footage and the interviews are all in Spanish with English subtitles. At two hours, it is also longer than most of the other 30 for 30 films.

Partially due to my connection to the USA versus Columbia game, I enjoyed the film. I was largely oblivious to the events surrounding that game. Reading subtitles is a much different viewing experience; you have to pay much closer attention than you might otherwise.

Bill Simmons did a podcast with the Director Jeff Zimbalist that is a nice supplement to the film.

The film is available on Amazon.

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