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Case Number 20522: Small Claims Court

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Sins Of My Father

Maya Entertainment // 2009 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // January 18th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis hopes nobody finds out that his real father is actually Dave Coulier.

The Charge

What if you were the son of Pablo Escobar?

The Case

As the biggest cocaine trafficker in history, Pablo Escobar built a massive fortune on the lives of addicts and the blood of his enemies. For all his crimes, though, he still had a loving family to whom he was very devoted. His dirty money gave them anything they could dream of and he took care of them well. For Escobar, crime did pay. It paid his way into a seat in Columbia's congress; it paid for constitutional amendments; it paid for political assassinations. But it didn't pay forever and, in the end, Escobar lay dead in the street, his body riddled with bullets and his family disgraced. They changed their names and built a new life in Argentina, but there was much unfinished business.

This is where Argentine director Nicholas Entel comes in. Sins of My Father presents us with Escobar's son, Sebastian, who tells the Escobar family story from an inside perspective. After building a successful career as an architect under a pseudonym, his true identity was revealed by a nosy journalist. Now in the open, Sebastian wanted to clear the air and explain his side of the story, without trying to excuse what really happened. Even at a young age, he knew where his father got the money from, but he provided well for the family, and what son would argue with that? In the end, though, the hate and suspicion he endured as a result of his father made it too much to bear. Now, through Sins of My Father, he tries to make things right.

Escobar's widow, Maria Isabel Santos, gave Entel access to a treasure trove of archival material about her husband, from pictures and diaries to home movies. Without that, there's not much of a movie here. While Sebastian Escobar may feel very strongly about making some form of amends, his story just isn't all that interesting. The derision he suffered may not have been fair, but sometimes that's life. I wouldn't want to hang out with Adolf Hitler's son, either; I don't care if he was the peachiest guy in the world.

Entel follows Sebastian in his return to Columbia to meet with sons of two of the men his father had murdered. They're amiable enough, and still get emotional when they think about the incidents, but they don't necessarily blame Sebastian for what happened. They shake hands, go for walks, and look very contrived doing all of it. If the story at hand isn't terribly compelling, the footage behind the story is. Images of Escobar frolicking with his family contrasts sharply with archives from his various assassinations. It's amazing footage, and it's all underscored by high energy Columbian music, which adds its own interesting accent.

Where the film's story lacks, Maya's DVD adds a lot to bring the whole package up a few notches. The video and audio are standard issue. The picture is clear and bright, but there's nothing great about it. The stereo sound, likewise, is as good as you'd expect. Everything is crisp, but none of it's terribly special. The best thing about the disc is the sole special feature, an audio commentary with the director. Separated from the film's audio track, the fantastic archival footage takes on more meaning with Entel giving explanation and backstory to what we're watching. It isn't the most active or entertaining commentary I've seen, but it serves as a solid primer to the violent events of the time.

It's not a great documentary, but the footage and commentary make up for a lackluster story.

The Verdict

Case dismissed.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Maya Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• English
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary


• IMDb
• Official Site

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