I’ve never been a huge fan of the work of John ‘Mr. Pretentious’ Sayles, and Men with Guns is hardly short on pretension, but this is truly one of his best films. It’s also one of his least-seen movies, and it’s no wonder why: The story is told almost wholly in Spanish and concerns an urban, Mexican professor who chooses to travel into the jungle to find out what has become of his students — all bound for rural destinations where they have pledged to help the poor populace. The professor’s journey is hardly one of nostalgia, as one by one he finds they are dead or vanished, victims of the cruel army (aka ‘the men with guns’) that have been ravaging the countryside. Chilling and gripping, despite the typical overwroughtness of Sayles. Federico Luppi, as the professor, looks like a Mexican Bob Barker. Surprisingly, this doesn’t detract from the rest of the picture.