An exploration of the high stakes and high risks of the drug trade, as seen through the interrelated stories of a drug king pin, a sheltered trophy wife and cops on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border.
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An ambitious ensemble piece by Soderbergh full of experimental cinematography and quite the socio-cultural analysis of the drug industry. With hindsight, there are flaws, but there is also much to commend.
This is Soderbergh's masterpiece. An epic about The War on Drugs that shows every aspect of it with a tint in the tradition of Griffith's Intolerance that signifies which point of view the story is taking place and an honesty that can't be denied. This would make a great double bill with Sicario.
Drama teetering on over-drama, but a good cast and steadfast director in Soderbergh pull this through. I particularly liked the sequences in Indian Hill and Over-the-Rhine (Cincinnati). They were all very blue, but it helped add to the drug-addled feel. The warmness of the scenes in Mexico, by contrast, made the sun feel oppressive and the people oppressed. A good film, but not my favorite by Soderbergh.
Considering the developments concerning drugs and the cartels, time has treated this film incredibly well. I like it better now than when I first saw it just a few years after its initial release. Love the way that Soderbergh gives each storyline its own color scheme to fit the theme and mood of each story. It is a bit preachy during the Michael Douglas story, but other than that it is outstanding.