Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 74 minutes
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Depending on your point of view, this pro-drug film will either be a rousing success or a misguided failure. I vote for the latter. “The War on the War on Drugs,” which doesn’t really tackle the war on drugs (though it does take plenty of well-intentioned shots at the nation’s drug policy), uses the identical tactics the government and anti-drug groups use in their propaganda — spurious logic, suspicious statistics and “facts.” (At the height of its hypocrisy, the film even plays into racist stereotypes by showing a black drug dealer — an act the filmmaker routinely criticizes the government for doing.) Granted, this is a series of comedy vignettes, which aren’t really funny, but you get the sense the film is trying to make the very serious point that the government isn’t dealing with the drug problem honestly.
Neither is this film.
As mentioned earlier, this film is very pro-drug. It encourages drug use and flat out says it’s the “cool” thing to do — all in a comedic manner. Had director/writer Cevin Soling actually put all this time and effort into doing a serious film that really looked into the war on drugs and its multiple failures, this would have been a fine movie. Instead, it tries to make its point while ignoring reality (again, like the anti-drug crusaders). Soling throws out all kinds of facts and figures about death rates from non-drug related incidents and famous people who have done drugs, but never confronts addiction or what it does to some neighborhoods. It would be awfully hard to do a comedy if those things were focused on, but anyone who wants to seriously question the government’s stance and policies has to address those things because they are issues people want to know how to deal with in the context of their lives. “Drugs are cool” just won’t cut it for thinking people.
If you make a film that criticizes the government and its policies and attempt to make your point by using the exact same methods as the government uses to demonize the thing you are supporting, you failed in your mission. It doesn’t work for the government, and it doesn’t work in this film. Propaganda is propaganda no matter who is doing it. Twisting of facts and statistics, and the use of spurious logic clouds arguments and misleads. (At one point it is mentioned that Dahmer did not use drugs and he killed people, which infers that non-drug users must be insane. What it doesn’t mention is that Dahmer himself didn’t use drugs, but did lure victims to their doom with the promise of drugs. Nowhere in this film is it implied that drug users are weak-willed victims, however.) Why “The War on the War on Drugs” would do these things is beyond me, but maybe it has something to do with the director’s pro-drug stance. Drugs can be a catalyst to all kinds of creativity … and they can hamper it, too. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case here.
Posted on December 6, 2006 in Reviews by Doug Brunell
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