For over forty years, America’s “war on drugs” has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer and damaged poor communities. Yet for all that, drugs in America are cheaper, purer and more available today then ever before. From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge that reveals the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.
The House I live In tackles one of the biggest issues, not only in the United States but also around the world – drugs. Whilst the drug war isn’t high on everyone’s list of interesting and thought-provoking commentaries, this documentary really hits hard and deep.
Director, and narrator, Eugene Jarecki does have an air of Michael Moore about him but he feels much more hard hitting and gimmick-less in his delivery. Throughout the film we are treated to talking head interviews from a vast array of people involved in the drug trade/war – including a notorious female drug dealer, a prison warden, notably scholars and also David Simon, creator of US TV show The Wire. Each have time and space to voice their own opinions and come across very passionately in their respective fields.
The House I Live In also delivers a story from the director’s nanny’s point of view. Whilst she travelled the country with the Jarecki family, and earns a decent sum of money, she constantly regrets leaving her son and seeing the downward spiral that he descended into. It’s an exceptionally heartbreaking story that shows the devastation it leaves on the family even many years later.
But do not think that this documentary solely focuses on the US drug war… we discover in the film that several countries are only a stones throw behind America in making the same mistakes they had previously made under the Nixon/Reagan/Bush administrations.
There are several stand-out facts that make for staggering reading. Amongst those are that whilst only 19% of the US population is black, over 90% of US incarcerated are black people. Whilst the government and law insist racial profiling doesn’t exist, these stats and regular footage seen throughout the land show this to be a complete lie.
The House I Live In is a stunning documentary that truly shows how bad things have become since the “war on drugs” was introduced in the 1970’s. It doesn’t limit itself in the size of net it casts for information, and really breaks down the “duking” of stats that the government leaders regularly profess to be on top of. This is one of the most important, and greatest, documentaries of out time.