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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Journalism is a form of power. Espionage is the oldest profession. "The news is like a rabbit; it jumps out where you least expect it."
Positive Role Models
Buendia was a brave, talented, dedicated, and hardworking reporter who knew the work he was doing put him in mortal danger.
Violence & Scariness
Journalists are killed for digging deep into secrets of the drug cartels and American and Mexican law enforcement and government agencies. Police are seen attacking protesters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A government official says that he would like to be buried with a bra over his eyes and panties over his heart.
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"Piss, "prostitution," and "whore."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The America government supported the drug trade, specifically cocaine trafficking, in the 1980s to raise money to send weapons to anti-communist forces in Nicaragua, a fact that was eventually exposed to the public. The Mexican government colluded. Adults smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia? is a 2021 documentary about a well-known Mexican journalist who exposed 1980s corruption in the Mexican and American governments and security services, linking them to the drug trade. Buendia's assassination on a public street, violence of drug cartels, and police and army violently controlling protesters and threatening journalists unearthing wrongdoing will make this appropriate for teens and older, but the subject may not grab the attention of a young American audience. Language includes "piss, "prostitution," and "whore." A government official says that he would like to be buried with a bra over his eyes and panties over his heart. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia? is only 100 minutes long, but feels far longer because it takes its time to get to the meat of the story. Relying on conventional, borderline dull documentary storytelling methods, the narrative bombards us with far too much background information for anyone but the most dedicated devotees to Mexican history and politics. A black-and-white clip shows recruits to Mexico's newly established domestic security service, modeled on the American FBI, bouncing through tumbling routines. Why? Just because someone discovered the amusing footage buried in an archive somewhere?
Many seemingly irrelevant facts and interviews are thrown at us, leaving the heart of the story deferred until nearly the end, when we learn that Buendia uncovered the connection between the American government, the Mexican government, drug cartels, arms dealing, and Contra fighters in Nicaragua. That information would be illuminating if it appeared earlier in the narrative, helping the viewer to understand what the story will ultimately amount to. This is a deep dive into Mexican politics that will not be for everyone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.