The House I Live In, a sharp and thorough investigative documentary on the ‘War on Drugs’ in the United States, needs to be taken notice of. Written and directed by Eugene Jarecki (Why we Fight), with a credible and weighty set of A-List producers at its helm, this is a documentary not to be messed with.
Through the use of first person interviews, stock footage and statistics, Jarecki, a seasoned and experienced documentary film maker, presents a well rounded and compelling argument against the effectiveness of current drug policies in the USA. Shocking minimum sentencing laws and disproportionate incarceration for minorities are just two of the failures that are intelligently picked apart. Jarecki brilliantly navigates the history of drug culture, it’s undeniable parallels with race relations and it’s devastating effect on a disenfranchised America, with an ease, empathy and sophistication that could so easily have ended up confused and disjointed. Instead his own personal connection to the story, and omnipresence as a director and narrator, succeeds in validating the message rather than cheapening it. The result is a film peppered with open and frank discussions, humanising and personalising those affected. Jarecki’s simplistic cinematic style shows an appreciation and respect for this, allowing the content to breathe.
This is an important and significant piece of work. The breadth of the stock footage, scope of information and credibility of his sources are in itself a feat, yet he has also managed to weave these elements seamlessly into one another with the skill of a master craftsmen.
Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In, is as compelling as it is startling, If you have not seen this film, see it. Right now.