Getting high requires certain people who are willing to do the dirty work to ensure you will always have 24/7 access to the thing you crave….
Have you ever spared a thought as to how the narcotics trade goes from flourish to flourish? It might be one thing to have access to the product which the cartels do, but it’s another thing all together getting that product to the other side of the world to some unsuspecting user who rarely has an idea of how many people were killed or payed off or exposed just so they could get their fix.
That said, the latest foray into the inside world of drug cartels and drug trafficking is illuminated in the highly charged documentary, El Sicario, Room 164 courtesy of Gianfranco Rosi which opened in the US yesterday.
npr: Filmed in a motel room on the U.S.-Mexico border, Gianfranco Rosi’s potent documentary could be an elaborate hoax. The movie’s subject doesn’t mention any names, including his own, and speaks from beneath a black shroud. The guy — call him E.S. — could simply have closely followed the narco wars in and around Ciudad Juarez, identified here as “the most violent city in the world.”
Yet the documentary’s back story bolsters its credibility. The movie is based on a 2009 Harper’s magazine article by Charles Bowden, a New Mexico-based journalist who’s written extensively about the region’s violent drug trade. And both Bowden and Rosi say they’re utterly convinced that their unnamed source, now a fugitive, was indeed a sicario — a top-level assassin, named for a 2,000-year-old Jewish sect that killed Romans and their allies in occupied Judea.
As one watches the movie one begins to realize how resolved the cartels are when it comes time to getting their trade in and out the front door. What may seem conscionable or morally dubious hardly registers a bat lid from the cloaked hit man on the screen in front of us as he matter of fact shows us how he would strangle people or machine gun them to death. Getting high after all is a very serious business with a lot of money involved. What’s one man’s life worth, or even hundreds of mens lives worth in context to this? Not much according to this hit man.
E.S. speaks directly to the camera, illustrating his lecture by jotting diagrams and stick-figure drawings in a large notebook. Rosi periodically shoots from over the killer’s shoulder to provide a better view of these. Sometimes E.S. acts out the specifics of kidnappings and tortures, at least one of which, he says, happened in this very motel room. A few glimpses of the outside punctuate what is otherwise a one-man show.
The hit man then goes on to relent his appetite for assassination has dissipated and he has now turned to religion. Which might be true, but that doesn’t disclose the fact that there are more men just like him who are torturing an informant for example in another motel room this very second whilst you casually inject, snort, swallow or the stuff that the torturing and the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing is suppose to procure.
Similar to our “Great Experiment” of the 1920s, the prohibition of various other drugs has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality & corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, a mind-boggling incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have far more sensible policies.
Ultimately the film forces one to reckon with the gravity of the drug industry and how governments attempts to keep it under wraps has unleashed more violence and blood letting imaginable. El Sicario, Room 164 just happens to introduce us to the procreators of that violence in stark terms, not that is going to change your mind about getting high anyway…