Film Review: El Sicario, Room 164

El Sicario, Room 164


80 minutes

In a motel room in or around Ciudad Juárez, a man in a black veil sits down to spill his guts. This sparse, haunting film, coproduced by Mother Jones contributor Charles Bowden, centers on a monologue delivered by a former sicario, a hit man for a Mexican drug cartel. In businesslike tones, he details his bloody career, from his recruitment as a teenager to his years of service to el patrón. He demonstrates how he nearly drowned one of his “patients” in the bathtub of this very room. But his calm wavers as he explains how he escaped the cartel, at least for now. “There are no borders for the narcotraffickers,” he says. “Whenever they want to do something, they have the money to get it done by anybody, anywhere.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend