20 September 2012 | stuartcookeinc
More than meets the eye
At the end of the film's premiere, the 300-odd cinema buffs at the Toronto Int Film Festival were in shock. They were still absorbing the multiple emotions evoked by the film's personalities and power. Ostensibly about the war against drugs and the drug trade, "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" paints on a much larger canvas. So many everyday impressions of how governments work, what the drug trade is, and how it's become such a scourge were overturned, it was difficult to take it all in. I think many will see the film a second or third time to fully absorb its import.
The production values are unusual for a documentary. "Talking heads" do not appear as such because everyone we get to meet comes across as a whole person, a unique individual with hopes, weaknesses, and strengths outside of the discussion at hand. They are characters in a real life story with real life consequences for them and the world around all of us. We get to know every one of them a little bit. I left wanting to learn more about many of them. What happens as a result is that the film rises to another level, another theme — a deeply human portrayal of the human condition. A surprisingly revealing mirror of ourselves. It's reporting of the highest possible caliber.