(Note: This film is part of my “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” project of film reviews).
“No one gets away clean.”
Recently, I had the chance to see this film again. This is definitely a powerful movie with an important message.
The basic concept of the film is about the war on drugs, who is involved and what the government is doing about it. What is interesting about the movie is that it shows not just one side of the story but many sides of the story.
We see the viewpoint of those involved on different levels of the law – the highest levels and lawmaker side (such as the role Michael Douglas portrays) and those at the lower levels on the law enforcement side (such as the role Don Cheadle portrays).
Even further, we see the viewpoint from those involved on the other side – the drug business itself. From the highest levels (such as the role played by Catherine Zeta Jones) to the lowest levels of the business – we see from different perspectives.
And, this movie is really about just that – perspective. We say there is a war on drugs. But, who are we really waging this war against?
We think the enemy is a drug warlord who is infiltrating our country and our future. But, the real enemy may not fit that profile. Maybe the real enemy is ourselves – it starts at home.
One of the most powerful quotes in the film was when Michael Douglas said, “If there is a war on drugs, then many of our family members are the enemy. And I don’t know how you wage war on your own family.”
(Note: For those who have seen the film, you’ll know what I’m talking about).
I think this movie had a very strong message. One of the main characters (portrayed by Michael Douglas) thought the way to win the war on drugs was to shut these drug operations down and find those responsible. As the film progresses, we see him trying time and time again to attempt to stop it through the legal process by meeting with other lawmakers and law enforcement agencies.
What he found was this war has and will continue. And, while he was trying to fight the war on drugs – there was another war happening right at home. And, this involved his daughter who ironically became a drug addict.
This really showed him that to win the war on drugs was not external but internal – it starts at home. And, the only way we can win the war is through education and by paying attention to those who matter the most – family.
I think what made this film unique was the way it showed the different perspectives. And, as an audience it was interesting to see multiple sides of the story.
The way the entire film was shot was very interesting. It felt like a documentary style type of movie. And, the whole look of the movie changed when we saw things on the “Mexico” side versus the “U.S.” side – it’s very interesting.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It is a very serious film on a very serious topic. The way the movie portrays different perspectives to bring it all together really makes it a powerful and brilliant film. At times, I found myself surprised – there are some twists and turns, it is not a predictable movie.
If you’re in the mood for a drama type of movie with a powerful message, I highly recommend this one.
Happy movie watching!
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