Ecstatic, heart-rending. One of the best sports documentaries in recent memory.
- LA Times
"The Two Escobars" is... kinetically edited into a seamless historical narrative... This riveting pic pulses with the same rhythmic mastery achieved in the filmmakers' earlier "Favela Rising."
Heart-stopping. Masterful. Tremendous emotional energy.
- Hollywood Reporter
Exciting, sordid... a saga of Shakespearean proportions... Only rarely can a documentary match feature films for gripping human drama, but this one, "The Two Escobars," has more than done that.
- Huffington Post
A triumph... Few movies have better documented both the good and bad of sports. "The Two Escobars" crams 100 minutes of alternating joy, thrills, heartbreak and tragedy into a film that tells a story little known outside [Colombia].
- The Associated Press
Thrilling. Unlike any sports documentary the viewer has ever seen.
- Sports Illustrated
Remarkable access. Riveting footage. The Zimbalists deftly weave together the precariously and tragically entwined stories of Andres and Pablo, and how the dreams of elevating a nation's hopes through the exploits of its national sport were both fueled and shattered by the dark elements that defined a nation's identity.
- Documentary Magazine
Crisply shot and impressively candid, the Zimbalists tell their stories methodically, letting tension mount until the end. The Two Escobars ends up being quite the nail-biter...
- Village Voice
One of the most intensely complex documentaries ever made. Astoundingly candid, vivid, visceral. The Zimbalist brothers have formidable talent.
- Screen Comment
Absolutely astounding, a fantastic documentary expertly told in a wondrous dual-protagonist narrative... a winding, fascinating tale of drugs, soccer, politics, and murder. The clarity, breadth, and storytelling ability of the Zimbalist brothers should be at once applauded and taken very seriously; they are ruthlessly tackling bold subjects that do not go quietly away, leaving the viewer to clean up the beautiful (if gory) images themselves.
- The LAist
Spectacular... a horrifying, mesmerizing portrait of Colombian narco-terrorism, and its relationship to soccer... This is not Vinny Chase's Medellin; it's a compelling piece of work about drugs, and murder, and sports.
☆☆☆☆ Chilling. A tale where drugs, politics and sports had become inextricably intertwined. The Zimbalists have unearthed a trove of footage, which they effectively blend with a full range of surprisingly honest interviews into a portrait of an entire country, in almost unthinkable distress. -NY Daily News
- NY Daily News
Gripping. Stunning. Admirable for the depth of research, boasting interviews with every key figure from one of the most turbulent periods in Colombia's recent history, and for turning up remarkable contemporary footage.
- The Guardian
The finest soccer documentary ever, period.
- Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated
Thrilling... Riveting... A treasure chest... To the beat of an eclectic score and through seamless editing that weaves together a plethora of news accounts, personal photos, and interviews with relatives, teammates, and other firsthand frontline witnesses, the directors deftly segue between two stories, either of which could stand solidly on its own.
- Slant Magazine
Fascinating. The most ambitious and arresting in the 30 for 30 series. I've been gushing about "The Two Escobars" for many weeks.
- Neil Best, Newsday
The filmmakers, Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, tell an incredible story, with impressive access to Colombia's political establishment, Andres' family, and Pablo's inner circle.
- Vanity Fair
The story moves forward with the swift momentum of an espionage thriller.
One of the best documentaries ever. It has drama, tension, hope, tragedy, and more.
- Vancouver Observer
This chilling portrayal of Colombia during the darkest days of narcotrafficking is shrewdly told by detailing the last years of two famous Colombians named Escobar[...] The filmmakers establish a relentless and mounting sense of dread as the situation in Colombia, and for the players, becomes intolerable.
- San Francisco Chronicle
The most complex and ambitious of the films available for review [at Tribeca] and on the widest canvas.
- New York Times
A beautiful visual story that expands your mind. Joins "When We Were Kings" and "One Day in September" as one of the top three sports documentaries of the last decades.
- Jason Reitman, Oscar nominated director/writer
Intensely emotional! The Zimbalist brothers' Tribeca Film Festival favorite [is] an amazing documentary...an incredible story.
- Al Jazeera
One of the best sports documentaries ever made.
- The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons
You get a much better sense of someone when you can see their eyes and faces in moments, not simply listening to someone else's account of them, and "The Two Escobars" does this perfectly, showing a deft editing touch and an intelligently constructed narrative that carried the audience on a journey to a place most would never have ventured.
- The Examiner
Thrilling, arresting... Amazing. There are moments in this film that are as powerful as anything you'll see on a screen of any size this year... The lives of the two men are so beautifully and skillfully interwoven that when the Zimbalists begin drawing the web that tied their two lives together tighter and tighter, the film takes on the impressive, tragic weight of a stage tragedy. The finest installment of the 30 for 30 series. The Two Escobars could be a companion to the great Italian gangster movie Gomorrah.
- A.V. Club
Riveting... Appealing visual panache and a rhythmic soundtrack.
- Filmmaker Magazine
Magnificently beautiful... "The Two Escobars" is a gritty South American crime saga. It's The Godfather by way of Che Guevara as written by Tom Clancy and adapted for the screen by David Simon. It's packed with assassinations, government corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, militia wars, kidnapping and terrorism. There's enough here for a miniseries. Instead it's a taut 100-minute powerhouse overflowing with so much compelling archival footage that you figure the Zimbalists grew up clipping newspaper articles and storing them in shoeboxes underneath their beds, just waiting for their chance to tell this story.
- The Cooler
A drama writ large... that often defies belief. "Escobars" captures the passion and personality of a group of exceptional athletes and their ecstatic bond with fans. There's tremendous emotional energy in the masterful use of existing footage, especially of games, and in their present-day interviews with Andres' teammates, sister and fiancee as well as with Pablo's relatives, colleagues and enemies.
A fast-paced, high-kicking look at the golden age of narco-soccer in Colombia.
- New York Magazine
Extremely emotional... Jeff and Michael Zimbalist have created a masterpiece. The Two Escobars is a brilliant film that illustrates how a simple game can be so meaningful to an entire nation.
- Bleacher Report
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist's documentary about a nation strapped under the boots of crime is as exciting as they come. Top 10 of 2010.
- John Esther, UR Chicago Magazine
A phenomenal sports documentary... the equal of "One Day in September" and "When We Were Kings." Essential viewing, not just for soccer fans.
- Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
A must see. Brave, powerful, intense. Amazing access to raw footage, impressive quality. The film succeeds in satisfying both the sport buff and the history junkie while being deeply moving for all.
- Venus Zine
Gripping and complex. I doubt there has ever been a movie where sports, crime and politics have collided in such breathtaking fashion.
- Brian Johnson, Macleans
An action packed story of the deadly intersection between drug trafficking and soccer in Colombia… the film didn't miss a beat. A compelling profile of Colombia that will make you never watch the World Cup in the same way again.
Devastating. A chilling cautionary tale about what can happen when success becomes a drug.
An amazing tale. The Two Escobars hits it out of the theater. A must see for anyone who enjoys a strong storyline and a high dose of action.
- USC Annenberg Press
How do you take a film about one of the most profound, unmitigated tragedies in sports history, and make it about morality's inevitable gray area, and the implications that can have on a culture? It takes breathtaking audacity to try, but Jeff and Michael Zimbalist pulled it off... Artistically astounding, emotionally affecting... the Zimbalist brothers upped the ante with "The Two Escobars."
- SB Nation
A propulsive, riveting style... carries the movie with an almost rock-arena fervor.
- Eye on the Arts
Unforgettable... "The Two Escobars" is a compelling realization of what documentaries, at their finest, can be. "Escobars" is a brilliant, artful coalescence of two vital parts of our culture, soccer and movies.
- Rogue Set
Riveting... Jaw-dropping... The narrative is fluid and the soundtrack is stupendously organic; this is quite simply the finest sports documentary that I've ever witnessed.
The sleeper hit documentary of the Tribeca Film Festival.
- The Daily Beast
One of the most exhilarating and emotional documentaries of the last few years. The film dovetails wonderfully back and forth between archival footage of Pablo and his men and Andres and his teammates. It's simultaneously a great sports story and the most insightful, all-encompassing depiction of the legendary drug lord to date.
- Gordon and the Whale
As good as the medium gets.
- Yahoo! Sports
The Zimbalist brothers have found a way to mate two of our most cinematic documentary subjects--sport and crime--and they get every ounce of vigor out of them that they can. The film is masterfully edited, full of tight, razor-sharp montage cutting and breakneck narrative; it just plain moves, knocking back and forth between the two men's intersecting stories, from the lightness of power and fame to the darkness of disgrace and death.