Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia?

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Mexican journalist dies for exposing corruption; violence.

Movie NR 2021 100 minutes
Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia? Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (1 ):

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.

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming: July 14, 2021
  • Director: Manuel Alcala
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: February 19, 2023

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate