By Gregory Crofton
Watching Netflix’s NARCOS makes for good entertainment, at least once you get past episode four or five. The series makes clear what happened to Pablo Escobar, the man who helped invent the production and sale of cocaine. He went berserk.
It was a process no doubt filled with and fueled by money, power, hubris and the pangs of jealously that come with the fierce competition of the drug trade. Thousands of victims lay in the wake of his storied life, two of which are his son and wife. Their stories are told in SINS OF MY FATHER (also streaming on Netflix), a documentary so fast-paced it’s difficult to keep up with, especially because it’s subtitled. But ultimately it is a thoughtful and well-made film about what it’s like to be the son of Pablo Escobar.
Looking to create some sort of distance between he and his father, Escobar’s son, Sebastian, changed his last name and he and his mother moved to Argentina. They were too afraid to live in Columbia, afraid that members of the drug cartels or government officials might come for their heads. Sebastian eventually travels back to Columbia to meet with the cartels. At the meeting he agrees to stay out of their country and to never enter the drug business.
Sebastian, like his father, is a very smart man. SINS OF MY FATHER documents Sebastian working out a way to deal with his father’s sins so that he might find peace for himself and his family. Escobars clearly know how to get what they want. One of the most revealing moments in the film comes early on when Sebastian describes how his father would cheat during Monopoly by stealing and stashing away extra money. The misery of being this man’s son. SINS OF MY FATHER is a good companion piece to NARCOS because it straightens out the show’s narrative, fills in some historical gaps and delivers genuine drama as Sebastian meets with his father’s victims.