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A Wolfpack Called Ernesto review – disembodied stories from Mexico’s drug gangs frontline

<span>‘Hard-going’: A Wolfpack Called Ernesto.</span><span>Photograph: PR</span>
‘Hard-going’: A Wolfpack Called Ernesto.Photograph: PR

There is a faceless lack of accountability concerning gun violence in Mexico. Film-maker Everardo González makes that point bluntly and relentlessly in this hard-going doc, via the use of an iPhone camera mounted on a scorpion tail harness behind his anonymised subjects. This offers us a view of the back of a head as each “Ernesto” goes about his firearm-related business, and not much else. Once the visual novelty of this technique wears off – and it soon does – we’re left with a series of disembodied voices narrating stories of gang life and drug-trafficking.

These accounts are often chillingly amoral or fleetingly poetic, but rarely do they succeed in engaging us emotionally. Presumably the blurring of identities is an intentional and necessary safety measure, but being unable to study these people’s faces or look into their eyes is a huge, self-inflicted handicap that the film never manages to overcome.