The actor Sean Penn and the narcotraficante Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, who recently traded tequila shots in the Mexican jungle, have more in common than might be immediately apparent. They’ve both had a long association with products that have been blamed for the moral decline of Western civilisation – in Chapo’s case, illegal drugs; in Penn’s, Hollywood movies and Madonna.
I’m not sure which was the greater challenge, tracking down the Mexican drug kingpin or reading Sean Penn’s 10,000 word article about him. The former took six long months, while the latter certainly felt like it did.
But if you wade through the endless paragraphs which betray the author’s greater fascination with himself than with his subject, there is an extraordinary story to discover. Penn’s tale of burner phones and planes fitted with scramblers feels like a thriller, and his success in reaching Chapo seems so implausible that it’s lucky that the two of them took a photo together to prove it really happened.Read More »Desperately seeking El Chapo