Loving Pablo is the screen version of the book written by Virginia Vallejo García. Called Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar, Virginia had an affair with Escobar in the mid-Eighties. When he was at the very height of his power.
Pablo Escobar was known as the King of Cocaine. The self-made Columbian drug lord became the wealthiest criminal in history. But because of his ruthless standoff with the government, he also became known as a narco terrorist who murdered thousands. He was also responsible for blowing up the Avianca Flight 203 killing all 107 people on board.
Despite his ruthless and violent actions, the people of Medellin looked upon his as somewhat of a saint. He had created a Robin Hood type character by giving huge sums of money to the poor. As a result, he was so loved that 25,000 people attended his funeral. With an estimated net worth of thirty billion US dollars, he had everything, including lots of women.
There have been many documentaries outlining the activities of Escobar, but probably the most famous screen drama that tells the story is Narcos (read our review here). In the mid-eighties, he had built a relationship with a famous journalist and anchorwoman Virginia Vallejo García. This film focuses on the relationship formed between Virginia and Pablo, giving a different point to that of Narcos.
Director Fernando León de Aranoa teams up with Javier Bardem who stars and co-produced the movie. Fernando does a great job in what is essentially a biography. Nothing is too dramatised and the obvious restraint in this direction is all the better for it. The casting is excellent. Peter Sarsgaard gives a solid performance as Shepard the DEA agent who is heading up a team to bring down Escobar. Penelope Cruz is great playing Virginia Vallejo García, but Javier Bardem steals the show playing Escobar. Giving an amazing performance, he totally bloated out for the role. He looks just like Escobar and provides a thoroughly believable performance.
It would be very easy to compare this movie directly to the series Narcos. But that would not be doing it any justice what so ever. Narcos does have the luxury of time to give much more detail, due to the number of episodes in each season. Loving Pablo takes just over two hours to squeeze this content together and is largely from the viewpoint of his lover.
All in all, this film is well worth watching. It gives a different perspective and still manages to get across the whole story. If you are a fan of Narcos however you would probably argue that this movie is hardly worth watching after seeing the fuller story.