December 26, 2013 12:04 pm

How to Make Money Selling Drugs – film review

Dealers and celebs feature in this documentary exposing the failure of the “war on drugs”
How to Make Money Selling Drugs (2012) - filmstill

Read a Swiftian irony in the title How to Make Money Selling Drugs. Matthew Cooke’s documentary is more about how to decriminalise drugs. But the movie’s structural approach is to rise through levels of mock pedagoguery, teaching us how to progress from narcotics users to sellers to distribution kingpins. Meanwhile the real experts and real victims are snuck in, ranging from street dealers to showbiz celebs.

Susan Sarandon, Woody Harrelson, 50 Cent and Eminem (eloquent on a one-time prescription painkiller dependency) are among those arguing that the “war on drugs” is not working. It’s just making the crooks rich and the addicted poor helpless. We may have heard it all before and seen much of it (violent police busts, Mexican bloodbaths). But Cooke catches our attention with his sardonic, training-handbook tone, which doesn’t exclude shock and indignation when needed.

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Nigel Andrews


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