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Sins of My Father -- Film Review

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PARK CITY -- Think about your family history and the black sheep and how you would answer for their transgressions. Multiply that difficulty by infinity and you would face what druglord Pablo Escobar's son has had to answer for. Filmmaker Nicolas Entel has distilled and visualized that moral burden to powerful, personal dimension in "Sins of my Father."

This absorbing, multidimensional film should be a strong contender for the Audience Award in the World Documentary Competition at Sundance.

For those too young to remember the reign of terror that Escobar and his Medellin drug ring wreaked on Colombia, not to mention the countless whose lives were destroyed by cocaine, this smart and solid film blends history with a deeply moving, ongoing personal story.

It's told through the eyes of Escobar's son, an architect in Buenos Aires who changed his name to Marroquin to escape the dangers and degradations of using his birth name. Marroquin, now middle-aged, is an introspective and highly intelligent man who has struggled to reconcile the different images of his criminal father: He remembers him as a doting dad but is deeply guilt-ridden by the reality that his father was a rampaging, murderous criminal. Escobar was so ruthless and crazed that at one time he held Colombia captive with merciless assassinations of public officials.

Entel has composed a masterwork, blending original news footage, home movies and Marroquin's candid revelations. Most remarkably, we see that while Marroquin realizes he always will live with his father's sins, he reaches out to the men whose own fathers were killed by Escobar. It's one of the film's most poignant moments when Marroquin and the sons of a Colombian presidential candidate whom Escobar had assassinated embrace one another, realizing they all are victims of the malicious drug trade.

Crisply paced and powerful, " Father" is a sobering and richly humane document.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (HBO Documentary Films)
Director: Nicolas Entel
Screenwriters: Nicolas Entel, Pablo Farina, Alan Hayling
Producer: Ivan Entel
Executive producers: Alan Hayling, Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Tabitha Jackson, Carolina Angarita, Julian Giraldo, Michela Giorelli, Angela Sondon
Directors of photography: Mariano Monti, Patricio Suarez
Music: Didi Gutman, David Majzlin
Editor: Pablo Farina
No rating, 94 minutes