The Nightcrawlers review – are the Filipino authorities executing drug addicts?
This gripping documentary follows the brave photographers capturing the carnage triggered by President Duterte’s policy of executing supposed dealers and users They think of themselves as avengers, doing God’s work. “The archangel Michael,” says one gun-wielding, masked man, by way of introduction. Their work consists of the summary executions of supposed drug dealers and addicts on the streets of the Philippines, and began shortly after Rodrigo Duterte took power in 2016. The exact death toll of Duterte’s war on drugs is disputed, but even the government’s official estimates put it above 5,500. You might assume that the title, The Nightcrawlers (National Geographic) from the channel’s Oscar-winning documentary arm, refers to these state-sanctioned mass murderers. In fact, it’s an unduly self-deprecating nickname adopted by the film’s actual subjects – a band of freelance photojournalists who have dedicated themselves to documenting the human cost of Duterte’s policy and rhetoric. They hope to raise awareness globally (this film should help), but also to counter the Philippine government’s dishonest narrative of good cops v evil dealers. The next presidential election is scheduled for 2022; their work is ongoing. Like