The Anarchapulco series takes its time

There’s no better time than the present, and time heals all wounds (a little, but we’ll deal with it), but time waits for no one – not even the anti-government, bitcoin-crazed mob and who put the annual festival gathering known as Anarchapulco on the map. And not just the map of Mexico.

For six years, beginning in 2015, documentary filmmaker Todd Schramke has followed the alternately liberating and chilling fortunes of several key players in the Anarchapulco community, many of whom have settled in Acapulco. The result is the six-part documentary series “The Anarchists”. The individual storylines offered Schramke and his colleagues an array of potentially gripping and increasingly frightening complications involving drugs, debauchery, warlike mission statements, suicide, and murder, the last likely committed by a crime cartel. dope.

I say “potentially” because HBO’s series unfolds with a frustrating lack of selectivity and focus, as if the whole project has had too much sunshine. There are some fascinating subjects here, especially Lily Forester, a heartbreaking and witty presence throughout. She and her partner known as John Galton – like several devotees of Anarchapulco, Galton’s name adopts a variation on the name of libertarian superman John Galt from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” – fled the United States and their past lives for the promise of a freer existence among their fellow seekers.

The entrepreneurial idea behind “Anarchapulco”, a Canadian named Jeff Berwick, invites filmmaker Schramke into his ever-changing world in a tourist destination clouded by its reputation for bloody danger. Year one attendees numbered around 150. They quickly grew from there, and in 2017, with the explosion of cryptocurrency, the world’s largest “anarcho-capitalist” convention became unbearable for many. What happens when an anti-corporate entity seeks and finds major corporate sponsorship?

Other main topics include Nathan and Lisa Freeman and their children, who left suburban Atlanta and squares life for Anarchapulco, Acapulco and a crazy cryptocurrency ride. Everyone has secrets and demons, and if “The Anarchists” has a theme, it’s the price you pay for trying to move past your own internal crises and childhood traumas.

Many of “The Anarchists” are just plain sad; some of them hit hard. But much of it wanders and repeats and generally feels like an early warm-up for a fictional two-hour version to be produced by, oh, let’s say, for the sake of argument, by Blumhouse Productions. The HBO doc is, in fact, a “Blumhouse TV production.” That’s not bad, but sometimes a six-part series ends up being ideal for viewers who have about six hours to see past padding a project to a lighter, more focused version of its own story.

“The Anarchists” — 2 stars (out of 4)

Content rating: TV-MA (language, violence)

Duration: Six episodes, approximately six hours

How to watch: Premiers at 9 p.m. on July 10. New episodes every week on HBO; Streaming in its entirety on HBO Max.

Michael Phillips is a reviewer for the Tribune.

[email protected]

Twitter @phillipstribune

Big screen or home broadcast, take-out or dine-in, Tribune’s writers are here to guide you to your next big experience. Sign up for your Free Weekly Eat. Look. Do. newsletter here.

Comments are closed.