Pandilleros is the follow-up to Olor A Muerte and while the movie is yet another fictional & moody portrayal of street life in Mexico City—this one begins with interviews of real-life members of street gangs & other young vagabonds around town. Most of them are sniffing glue & getting drunk, some sleeping on the streets and all speak of their hopelessness in their lives. These interviews truly set the mood for the movie and it is all uncomfortable & very sad. Especially since most of the interviewed are young children.
Flor (Anadeli Teran) and her boyfriend (Raul Buenfil) are 2 college students assigned to report about street life in Mexico City and it is also to be televised locally as well. Their reporting begins harshly since they’re robbed by the gang “Los Chuchos” and they of course have no mercy nor remorse for their actions. As Flor and her boyfriend continue their report—Los Chuchos continue to rob & assault people around town and evading the law as well. Los Chuchos are then lead to believe Flor & her boyfriend are ratting them out to the police and this leads to Flor being raped & kidnapped by Los Chuchos along with a drug-dealing partner of theirs. Flor’s boyfriend is almost killed but manages to survive and with the help of the police- they go after Los Chuchos and to save Flor.
Pandilleros has a much different tone than Olor A Muerte and what I mean by that is that this movie feels like it wasn’t trying to be so polished/exaggerated and wanted to feel far more gritty & realistic instead. The interviews in the beginning give it the kickstart of grittiness and realism. The grittiest & most memorable scene of the movie is where a small child wearing a cape is high on glue & proceeds to jump from a building thinking he’s a superhero. It is a gruesome scene and very sad too. It’s a prime example of small children hooked on drugs and the dire consequences that come about from it.
Director Ismael Rodriguez Jr just had to make another movie about street gangs & poverty after the much success of Olor A Muerte and sure enough he pulled it off again with Pandilleros. Pandilleros is just as beloved as Olor A Muerte is and it truly deserves all the love & praise it gets because this is a movie that’ll shock you, entertain you all the way through and make you want to watch it over & over again.