In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case review – haunting and eye-opening look at an imaginary justice system

By Marc Miller
Published: December 9, 2022


A haunting look at the lines erased between criminals, public officials, and an imaginary justice system where journalists stand in their place to hold those accountable.

We review the Netflix true crime documentary film In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case, which was released on December 8th, 2022.

Netflix’s true crime documentary, In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte, tells the bloody, tragic, and jaw-dropping true story of the murders of five people and the investigators who look into their death. Directed by Alberto Saúl Arnaut Estrada, the film looks at the eye-openingly corrupt investigation into the murders that always took an intentional detour away from the truth. This is a perfect companion to the Netflix true crime documentary Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia?, a film that showed the importance of newspaper reporting and the war on journalist integrity covering stories like Narvarte. That covered crimes just like this one that cost reporters their lives.

The story here covers the 2015 murders of journalist Ruben Espinosa, an acclaimed photographer who challenged truth to power. Then you have a male model Mile Martin, a blue-collar worker, Alejandra Negrete, political activist Nadia Vera, and cosmetologist Yesenia Quiroz. The grizzly murders took place in the Mexican town called Narvarte, that as the title suggests, happened in broad daylight. What is the connection? Why were they together? All five were found murdered in an apartment, and high-ranking officials in Veracruz appeared to be behind it. And in this city, many feel politicians make the reference they are as guilty as the crooks. Here, it happens to be true.

Estrada’s film is brave, considering the war on journalists in Mexico. Filmmaking, especially the documentary genre, is an extension of the ethical dilemma, which is reporting the truth no matter where it leads. And spoiler alert, the case has no conclusions or official answers. This makes In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte harken films like The Pledge or Picnic at Hanging Rock. Don’t get me wrong, those are very different films, but sometimes stories don’t have a happy ending, and that’s the world we live in. (Collider has a good list of unsolved crime documentaries).

Exposing the atrocities of the Mexican government officials as criminals who are just as culpable as the ones on the streets is nothing new for Estrada. Take his remarkable look at his Armed to the Teeth, a revealing look behind the scenes of governments influenced by the military. The Mexican government announced the death of two hitmen. Those criminals were reportedly “armed to the teeth” but later revealed they were honor students, and the coverup ensued. Estrada is not uncovering the truth but framing it for the public. His latest is just as fearless because this could touch a nerve that many wouldn’t dare go near.

The story behind In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case is even more haunting because of the unsolved nature, but it’s not that simple. The underlying theme is the evidence and assertions by interviewees that the people in the office are pulling the trigger. They are horrifyingly blurring the line between criminals and public servants paid to serve the people. More importantly, this is a story of a country with an imaginary justice system, one where the journalists attempt to stand in their place, knowing the danger ahead.

Do you think of the Netflix true crime documentary film In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case? Comment below.

Movie Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service