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Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome50.23%
Worth A Look: 20.19%
Just Average: 12.21%
Pretty Crappy: 10.8%
Sucks: 6.57%

13 reviews, 135 user ratings


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by Nuwanda

"Bring your scorecard..."
4 stars

Besides being utterly confused most of the time with who was who in Mexico, I quite liked this film. It had a simple, easy to understand message (for the most part), and was shot in an unique fashion. There are however, some aspects of the film which prevent it from realizing it's own ideal, and attaining 5 stars from me.

A film about the futility of the "War on Drugs" it's message is effective, yet slightly drawn out.

The beginning was confusing to me right from the start. But, then again, I'm not the best with these types of movies; the ones where there are a lot of characters, not a lot of development, and alot of action. With a very jarred camera, and orange filter, director Soderbergh introduces us to the 'Mexican' portion of this film which has three distinct locales; Tijuana, Washington, DC, and San Diego.

The Mexican segments of this film is where I found myself wanting for a scorecard so that I could keep track of the characters. Like, "Ok, the bulgy eyes one...he's a good guy, then he's not, oh! now he is again." I could not even keep track of his friend, Manolo. I still don't know exactly what happened to him. Near the end Manolo's friend, Javier makes a decision that should have been a death warrant, but yet he lives. This did not make sense to me. Some of the main points of the film are; how intertwined the drug world is, how important loyalty is, and how finking is an assured way to find yourself six feet under. So, what made Javier so damn special?

The U.S segments of the film, are in contrast, shot in a regular way with steady cameras and easy to follow dialogue. Some portions of these segments are quite profound and thought-provoking, and humourus. Others, well...

A lack of character development with Helena, the drug lords wife, made some of the U.S. scenes rather unbelievable. Apparently, Helena, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, did not know that her husband was one of the biggest drug traffickers in the U.S. When he gets busted, and she realizes who he really is, she is furious. She loses her family, the debts pile up, and she basically "just wants her life back". Too quickly, she realizes the only way to attain this is to ensure her husband gets acquitted. So, she orders a hit on the star witness for the prosecution. She goes from being Molly House Maker, to a gangster in too short of time. Not only that, but she gets fully involved in her husbands affairs and sells her Mexican counter-parts on a new, rather brilliant form of smuggling drugs across the border. It was too brisk and phony for me to digest.

However, I loved the story line that involved Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) and his family. He is a judge who has just been appointed to be the new "drug czar" for the U.S. Government. Little does he know that his own "All American" daughter is free basing cocaine in various places around the house. The point here is clear as well. Drug use does not discriminate between race, social standing, or economic class.

All in all, this is a film that should be seen. Most people will not have a problem with the confusing portions, that's mostly me. It's merits far outweigh it's faults and I find it deserving of the recognition it's receiving.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4722&reviewer=116
originally posted: 01/10/01 16:05:11
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell a sharp look at the drug scene told from different points of view 4 stars
6/21/14 Richard Brandt Among Benicio Del Toro's many virtues : He nailed the Mexican accent, which wasn't his own 4 stars
2/20/13 PAUL SHORTT THOUGHT-PROVOKING, BRILLIANTLY MADE, INTELLIGENT THRILLER WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef The best film of 2000. And the best about the ripple effect of drugs ever made. 5 stars
8/25/09 yukers This movie was LAME and way too LONG!!! 1 stars
9/21/08 Samantha Pruitt amazing movie, totally intense! 5 stars
8/20/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini really confusing if you don't pay attention 5 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley Some annoying acting and occasional preachy tone hamper this fine thriller. 4 stars
12/11/05 sweetgrrl1972 By the end you don't care about any of the characters especially the poor rich kids. 1 stars
11/02/05 R.W.Welch Innovative cinematography and standout perf by Del Torro. 4 stars
10/09/05 Agent Sands A brilliantly shot and edited epic. Also really entertaining. I heart Soderbergh. 5 stars
9/08/05 Indrid Cold A textbook example of how to address a complex subject with intelligence and style. 5 stars
6/01/05 jcjs fine stuff 5 stars
2/25/05 Gray I now jackass crack lovers who love this film 1 stars
1/01/05 Daveman A fantastic thriller, entertaining, affecting and compulsively rewatchable. 5 stars
9/25/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Benicio aside, this is too long, too unbelievable and too much CZJ overacting 3 stars
9/23/04 Naka Absolutely stunning from beginning to end. A true modern classic worthy of highest praise. 5 stars
5/02/04 Gobsmack A devastating, shudder-inducing rush. Worthy of the highest praise. B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T. 5 stars
4/17/04 ALBERT H. TAYLOR JR. I was engrossed in the movie from start to finish. 5 stars
4/15/04 gordon purcell Soderberg uses several filmstocks and looks to the themes, yet it's clear to follow! Smart! 5 stars
4/14/04 rojo Easy to get involved in this one, great acting. 5 stars
4/05/04 Agent Sands Powerful, realistic, & enjoyable with awesome cast, direction, camerawork, music, & script. 5 stars
6/15/03 rory excellent film.... well done 5 stars
3/04/03 Dr. Bitterpants Liked it 1st viewing, bitter taste 2nd. HATE cliche of poisoned room service - how Dragnet! 3 stars
2/05/03 spacecowboy man it painted a bleak picture for the future of the "war on drugs" 5 stars
11/14/02 Chiendog Amateurish tripe with more plot holes than a slice of swiss cheese. 1 stars
7/31/02 I Can't Swim Worth it only for Benicio, who gave the movie what little soul it had. Hey KMG, show me how 4 stars
7/04/02 KMG THIS MOVIE ROCKS HELL! If you disagree go fuck yourself! 5 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird just one of the most important films ever made 5 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo The most overrated film of the '90s...Some good acting aside, this film is a waste 2 stars
3/04/02 Jennifer Birkhead Michael Douglas best player by far; too bad his bride thinks her shit don't stink! 3 stars
3/04/02 Marcia Lartz I didn't even notice Benicio del Toro. Academy is off its rocker! 3 stars
3/01/02 Alan Smithee Only the mexican sub-plot is worth watching. Everything else is crap. 2 stars
2/21/02 Jeff boring as all hell 2 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Depressing. Some prime acting. 3 stars
2/19/02 srm realistic???? white suburban kids always buy drugs at inner city crack houses. yeah right 4 stars
1/21/02 Spyguy2 Del Toro kicked ass as the Mexican cop...very good, but I heard the original is better 4 stars
1/12/02 hd the worst movie i ever saw i didnt understand 1 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden A Very Good Movie With Great Sub Plots and Acting. 5 stars
10/03/01 Phoenix Del Toro is a weird looking guy, but he sure is a great actor. Excellent movie. 5 stars
8/18/01 LawHog24 The Mexico part (and DelToro) kicks all ass...the US part is a bad USA Networks flick. 3 stars
8/15/01 Dakamus I paid seven dollars to take a two hour nap in my local theater!?! Suck-ass movie! 1 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Soderbergh helms this jumpy tale with a mastery foer the craft. Great film. 5 stars
8/02/01 G-Man Perfect. Very thought provoking. 5 stars
7/29/01 Jennifer Gaissert Del Toro was great, but the editing made me dizzy 4 stars
7/28/01 Steve Definitely overhyped/overrated. Not very exciting. Great documentary though. 4 stars
7/28/01 Adam I thought it was a little dull, seems like a mix of very deep and very shallow messages. 4 stars
7/21/01 Phil M. Afficianado The accolates are well deserved. 5 stars
7/19/01 skye over-rated. good flick. been done. 4 stars
7/17/01 svetlana a good message...but damn does it drag on and on 4 stars
7/02/01 TLsmooth Benicio saves this neverending shit-burger 3 stars
7/01/01 Jed overblown, overhyped Miami Vice crime saga. Soderbergh is a hack. 1 stars
6/30/01 Pop will eat itself loved it. although topher grace was fucking annoying. I kept waiting for M.D. to smack him 5 stars
6/21/01 Jim Renwick Over-rated 3 stars
6/19/01 Jake Del Toro only bright spot in this pretentious epic. Soder 1 stars
6/17/01 The Bomb 69 powerful is the best word to describe it 5 stars
6/05/01 Muad'Dib Probably should have taken Best Picture 5 stars
6/04/01 Monday Morning I was mildly disappointed that Catherine didn't take her shirt off. Movie was just average. 3 stars
6/01/01 greensweater Douglas & Zeta are lame. Eric Foreman steals the show. 2 stars
5/24/01 Jason Disappointing, overated coming out Blow beats it by far 3 stars
5/12/01 IM Great, great film....better than the boredom of the 5 hour miniseries 5 stars
4/24/01 Greg No, the comments came from people with pulses 1 stars
4/23/01 Skip Young The 3 comments below are out of touch with reality. 5 stars
4/22/01 Luke Me and my friend chucked fizzo lollies at people the whole time, oh it was very humerous :) 1 stars
4/19/01 Greg Very predictable, just like any other drug movie except no excitement. 1 stars
4/14/01 Bill B Simply the worst. 3 people were asleep in my row alone. 1 stars
4/12/01 Piz Del Toro & company are dizzying and compelling..it gets flat at times tho 4 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye Gritty, realistic and anything but a "feel good" movie. Go see it! 5 stars
3/27/01 Matthew Bartley Deserved every one of its awards 5 stars
3/25/01 neil bartlett I sat riveted. A job well done. Del Toro deserves his Oscar 5 stars
3/25/01 zeitgeist oh, the futility 5 stars
3/23/01 Alex Benicio del Toro was amazing 5 stars
3/22/01 JB No great but good. Great cast. Cool arrangement of scenes. 3 stars
3/20/01 bjshrink Disappointing. Hedged its bets, then ended up with a sentimental, Hollywood ending. 3 stars
3/17/01 JB How come all the baddies are Mexican or black? How come there are no corrupt US police? 3 stars
3/12/01 viking A film we should all see 5 stars
3/07/01 Mike This guy made Erin Brokavich? 5 stars
3/03/01 Rael One of the most skillfully acted and directed films of recent years. 5 stars
3/03/01 Gini We're losing the drug war; that's a fucking revelation?! 1 stars
3/03/01 Suzz good but predictable 4 stars
3/01/01 manual_overide Loved it!! I live like 10 seconds from where they filmed the drug scenes in Cincinnati!!! 5 stars
2/21/01 Fredy Not realistic enough. Where were the hollywood producers sniffing coke... hmmm? 2 stars
2/20/01 Rocket Boy Agreed, one of 2000s best 5 stars
2/19/01 W. Sharif One of the best films of 2000 5 stars
2/17/01 Ken VERY long but VERY good as well. Watch it if you want something to think about. 5 stars
2/13/01 Artist Freak Complex, incisive film about a Gordian knot of an ignored problem. 5 stars
2/12/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Aside from the rather gag-inducing offscreen romance of CZJ & MD, not bad at all. 4 stars
2/12/01 bob buttons this movie fucking sucks way too long, too many subplots that no one understands. fuck it. 2 stars
2/11/01 Julie Loved it.......This movie shows the way it really is. 5 stars
2/11/01 john d(THE DUDE) A pile of shit 1 stars
2/10/01 astrotart Drug war movie tells you how it is without the use of dramatic overkill or happy endings. 4 stars
2/08/01 I Campbell Catch it on cable. Too forula and preachy. Del Toro is the only actor worth mentioning. 2 stars
2/07/01 Johnny Figaro Dash of style can't overcome 2-D characters and plot. In a better year would be ignored. 3 stars
2/07/01 ObiWan I've seen stronger epics. Del Toro, Cheadle were good, but OVERRATED 3 stars
2/06/01 Gordon Lawrie Like a 2 1/2 hour episode of "Miami Vice" nothing new here 2 stars
2/05/01 Bobby Too much hype 2 stars
2/04/01 Stuntman it was freaking awesome 5 stars
2/03/01 Owen Croak A 2.5 hr film ought to make some sort of statement in that time. Traffic doesn't. 2 stars
2/02/01 Kert Gartner Fucking awesome! 5 stars
2/01/01 Patrick Tiffany good good good good 5 stars
1/31/01 R Kramer Everyone needs to see this film. Is the drug war insane or what!!! 4 stars
1/29/01 Matthew Bartley Enthralling, terrific, suspenseful, intelligent, absorbing,thrilling what more do you want? 5 stars
1/28/01 rubber VERY mediocre 3 stars
1/25/01 Blubberbot It had some good parts and some bad parts. I'd rather watch a documentary on the subject. 3 stars
1/23/01 ObiWab Worth the price of a ticket to see Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle. The screenplay sucked. 4 stars
1/21/01 Unommon Sense Slept through much of it. No excitement, no suspense,little English.Too much subtitling 2 stars
1/21/01 Evan Price beautifully executed drug drama 5 stars
1/19/01 Marguerite absolutley loved it! Needed another 10 minutes! 5 stars
1/17/01 loser owns 5 stars
1/17/01 Jes Very artistic... 5 stars
1/15/01 Jim Kidd One part of me said it sucked but the other part bitchslapped that side and said it rocked! 5 stars
1/15/01 Silo It really sucks when the daughter dies at the end! 5 stars
1/14/01 Jefferson Darcy Stupid people walking out of the theater say "That was so boring". I almost hit them. 4 stars
1/13/01 orpy mostly great movie; depressing though 4 stars
1/13/01 rob Pretty damn good, but could be better 4 stars
1/12/01 bartv Exciting, engrossing, good acting. CZ Jones was a great villain. 5 stars
1/11/01 tnt Interesting and enjoyable...very real 4 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I'm so bored with drug flicks. I'm gonna have to get stoned to sit thru another one. 3 stars
1/10/01 DAVE Time and time again you'll think it's over, but it's far from it. 4 stars
1/10/01 Matt69 Great peformances by the coke head daughter and Benico del toro 5 stars
1/09/01 brian doesn't insult the audience... real people....not one dimensional hollywood characters 5 stars
1/09/01 puckfreak Over-hyped, surely not "Fucking Awesome" but worthy of a "Worth A Look" 4 stars
1/09/01 denise this is a bad ass movie! wonderful on many levels. 5 stars
1/09/01 Kiss My Grits damn best film i've seen in a long long time 5 stars
1/08/01 poetcdh Washed out colors are tedious, CZJ character makes big change from naive to player, how? 3 stars
1/07/01 Robert Goddamned good filmmaking. Exposes the realities of the failed war on drugs. 5 stars
1/07/01 Thor-Leo Too long. Neither engaging nor affecting. Too many characters, most of them poorly realized 3 stars
1/07/01 zak this is a true horror film, becasue it's quite possibly the world we live in 5 stars
1/06/01 Meagan A very realistic look at the drug problem without providing easy answers. 5 stars
1/06/01 frankko the best movie of 2000. 5 stars
1/06/01 Foreman One of the best movies I've ever seen. Everyone & everything is amazing, even Topher Grace! 5 stars
1/05/01 Harlan Pepper I loved everything about this movie. Even the music is cool. 5 stars
1/05/01 Schwartzy Great direction! Brilliant cinematography! 5 stars
12/27/00 Emily This movie is about to blow up like crazy! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Jan-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Mar-2001 (M)




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