On September 26th 2014, 43 college students were abducted from a Mexican college and never seen again. Following on from 2015’s documentary film 43, The 43 is a two-part documentary series looking in detail at the events that occurred that night and the events that followed leading many to question the official findings. With a consistent pacing and a thorough examination into key pieces of the puzzle, The 43 is a well shot, absorbing Mexican crime documentary and one that’s certain to get people talking if they can take to the subtitled run-time.
For those unaware, Mexico was rocked by a recent tragedy that shocked the country to its core. On the aforementioned date, 43 students were abducted, presumably handed over to a drug cartel, burned and eventually scattered around the area. At least, that’s how the official report from the Government has it known. Through survivors that night, key witnesses and forensic evidence, The 43 uses science and cold-hard facts to piece together a comprehensive report of what really happened.
If you’re interested to see how far the rabbit hole goes and haven’t heard of this case before, The 43 is an excellent place to start. The first 50 minute episode takes us through a reconstruction of the night, with a visible time-stamp to show, down to the minute, exactly what happened and when. The second 75 minute episode breaks down the events that occurred after that night, looking at the official investigation and the flaws in the Government’s argument before presenting an independent report that shows a very different account of what happened.
While some of the ideas presented are borderline speculation, there’s a good amount of evidence used to try and back up these claims which does help. Given the army’s refusal to be interviewed in this series or even show up at the final report, this speaks volumes unto itself whilst corruption continues to plague the central American country.
Stylistically, The 43 features many of the usual tropes you’d expect from the true crime genre. There’s a good use of archival footage, with reconstructions and home-made camera phone videos making up the bulk of the first episode. The second takes a good amount of news reports and uses them in the stead of the reconstructions, with plenty more interviews and a slightly slower pace than the first. It works well to break the series up too and despite the first half being a lot more frantic, the second half does well to keep things tense via the various reports and a deeper understanding into what happened.
The 43 is another very good true crime documentary worth watching. It’s shocking, oftentimes maddening and absorbing throughout. The 2 hour run time is easy to get into and both episodes are broken up at the perfect time, bridging that gap between the night itself and the events follow that. It’s not perfect and at times the subtitles are a little lost during the black and white newspaper shots but for the most part, The 43 is a decent true crime documentary and one I’d definitely recommend watching.