America’s “War on Drugs” has resulted in over 45 million arrests and jail cells bursting with convicted felons. Yet drugs are cheaper and easier to find than ever. Communities are devastated, families destroyed. Director Jarecki speaks to a vast cross-section of people affected by drugs — dealers and addicts, correctional officers and lawyers, judges and journalists. We learn that the director’s beloved former housekeeper lost a son to drugs, so we can sense he’s emotionally invested in understanding more about this complex, highly politicized issue.
"House” really works by skillfully blending personal narratives with data-driven facts and hypotheses. David Simon, creator of TV’s “The Wire,” develops the crux of the film’s central argument: that the “War” stems from an attempt to control poor, minority communities. Judges attest to the ineffectiveness of mandatory sentencing laws, and even prison wardens question America’s insistence on building more jails to house offenders. This Sundance prize-winner facilitates an increased awareness of America’s ineffectual drug policies, which should serve as the crucial first step towards long-overdue reform.