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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raising pointed questions
This movie is the latest documentary from writer-director Eugene Jarecki, who has previously brought several other interesting and acclaimed documentaries, including 2006's Why We Fight and 2010's Freakonomics. Now comes Jarecki's latest.

"The House I Live In" (2012 release; 108 min.) is a detailed and critical look at "the War on Drugs", now more than 40 years...
Published 21 months ago by Paul Allaer

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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
IT SEEMS THAT THE MAJORITY OF DOCUMENTARY FILMS ARE 5 STAR RATED AT AMAZON. IS THIS BECAUSE SUCH VIEWERS PLACE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ABOVE ENTERTAINMENT? THE FILM LACKS WEIGHT IN WHAT IT CLAMS TO ADDRESS ON THE DVD COVER. I LOVE EUGENE BUT ETHICAL DOCOS DO NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THEY ARE SUPERIOR.
Published 14 months ago by Chris McLaughlin


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raising pointed questions, 12 Dec 2012
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House I Live In [DVD] (DVD)
This movie is the latest documentary from writer-director Eugene Jarecki, who has previously brought several other interesting and acclaimed documentaries, including 2006's Why We Fight and 2010's Freakonomics. Now comes Jarecki's latest.

"The House I Live In" (2012 release; 108 min.) is a detailed and critical look at "the War on Drugs", now more than 40 years on since President Nixon declared that war in 1971. The filmmaker starts at home, literally, as his revisits with his family's (black) nanny from his days growing up in suburban Connecticut and New York in the 1970s. As it turns out, the lady has lost several family members, including a son, to drugs. From there Jarecki interviews lots of different people, from jailed drug dealers to a US federal judge to a prison security guard, and on and on. One of the historians interviewed claims that the criminalization of drugs goes back to the beginning of the 20th century (when opium was outlawed to deal with the Chinese-Americans, then cocaine was outlawed to deal with African-Americans, and finally marijuana was outlawed to deal with the Mexinan-Americans). The picture that eventually emerges is devastatingly bleak: despite over $1 trillion spent and 45,000,000 arrests since 1971, the situation today is no better now than it was then, if anything, it is a lot worse. A lot attention is given to the discrepancy in penalties given for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine (100 to 1), and the devastating consequences of that on the African-American community. The last part of the movie examines how the system is now so large that a growing number of communities depend on the prison as being the largest employer and, even more disconcerning, how so many stand to gain by keeping the ststus quo, at the expense of a vulnerable group.

David Simon (creator of HBO's The Wire) is interviewed extensively and he sums it up as follows: "The War on Drugs is not race-based but class-based, and in that sense it is like the Holocaust in slow motion". The prison security guard puts it more carefully as follows: "Let me be clear, I am a law and order man. But it hasn't worked. I don't know what the answer is but surely it ain't 'more of the same'." I believe that the US may be reaching a point in the not too distant future where a national debate over this issue can take place. The fact that Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use of marijuana just last month, gives an indication the boundaries of the discussion are changing. This documentary flew by in a flash when I saw it in the theatre here in Cincinnati this week. I didn't necessarily agree with everything that is said in the movie, but the movie raises a lot of pointed questions. "The House I Live In" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Sociological Tale., 18 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The House I Live In [DVD] (DVD)
This film should be compulsory viewing for the lock them up/throw away the key types like Peter Hitchens; because in many parts if the USA they do just that, and does it solve or even reduce drug problems? No, as this film so clearly explains there are other forces at work aside from the personal choice of individuals, in fact personal choice seems to be one freedom that has disappeared in some of the city areas highlighted here.

This film is really a modern sociological study, but with its deft touch, going from the personal to the national, it never seems to lecture or try to persuade. In fact, many of the people interviewed here are anything but subversive; they are the hard-working members of a society in decline, who have seen the way things are going, and want to try to arrest the damage being inflicted on their cities and on their neighbours.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America's Longest War, 13 Feb 2013
By 
Mac McAleer (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House I Live In [DVD] (DVD)
Praised as the documentary of the year this is a BBC co-production. It has an E classification, meaning exempt from classification, so it won't frighten the horses. But it frightened me. It is about America's war on drugs and what happens in America often influences the UK, making this both a documentary and a warning.

Quotes from people interviewed in the film's trailer give a feeling for its contents:

> "The drug war is a holocaust in slow motion."
> "You have to understand that the war on drugs has never been about drugs."
> "Somebody down the road said drugs are bad. OK, there's no argument there, but think about where we are thirty yeas later."
> And about being jailed for drugs ". . . watching poor, uneducated people being fed into a machine like meat to make sausage."

The film provides examples of young men, and some women, caught up in the drug system. Their personal histories and backgrounds are explored, giving a human face to the statistics, victims of a cycle of drugs spanning generations. Theirs is an environment where role models are older, apparently successful, drug dealers. To go down to a drug corner in the inner city is the rational act of someone going to work in the only company that exists in a company town. And at every stage black Americans are disproportionally represented. There are more black Americans in jail or on probation in America than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War. Drug laws in America seem designed more to punish than to prevent, especially with mandatory minimum sentences tying a judge's hands no matter how extenuating the circumstances.

The film starts with a clip from President Nixon stating that America's public enemy number one is drug abuse. Later there is a clip from President Reagan saying "We are beginning to win the crusade for a drug-free America." In fact there has been no reduction in drug use in America over the years. It is now a massive industry on both sides, with the business of selling drugs and the business of the war on drugs: the police, the courts, the private prison system.

Of course it won't happen here. We do not have American exceptionalism. Europe is older, wiser and more social. We do not have, yet, mandatory minimum sentences. We are altogether different. But go to the street corners of suburban Naples or to the banlieues outside Paris. Or go to a crown court in the UK and watch the succession of young men on trial for drug dealing. These are young men without active fathers, who were warehoused at school, with a bad education and few prospects and who got involved in drugs at an early age. They will go to prison. Their sons will not know their father. They are all caught in the cycle of drugs.

But what about personal responsibility? Nobody made them do it. True, but in their shoes how would I have handled it? Would I have had the exceptional personal responsibility to escape the cycle?

As the fear of drugs spread through the electorate, or as the fear was manufactured, the politicians had to react and the legislative destruction of communities continued. This was a war on the under-class. It hit the blacks first as inner city blue collar jobs disappeared. Later poor whites got involved with the introduction of crystal meth, and they went straight from the trailer parks to the prisons. The war on drugs has solved the problem of de-industrialisation and globalisation by incarcerations, creating an accidental American Gulag Archipelago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic DVD, 6 May 2014
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Mr. K. Montgomery "kevin montgomery" (Paisley, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House I Live In [DVD] (DVD)
great analysis of "war on drugs". manages to do it well without being earnest or preaching. Best documentary I have seen on the subject. Intertwines the overall issue and the political problem with a personal story of tragedy. Eminently watchable
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5.0 out of 5 stars the house I live in, 11 April 2014
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one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen and by far the best on the war on drugs that is out there. Focuses solely on the US so don't expect a global perspective
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone must see this....., 19 Feb 2014
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The whole film/documentary was a revelation on the judicial system in America and the way things are stacked up against black men and youth. Some of the problems are created by the individuals and the choices they make but those choices available to them are very very limited. This is a very detailed look at a growing problem that a lot of us would like to ignore, but as we have seen, will not go away!!! it is very sad in parts when you hear the stories of the people featured and the substantial sentences handed down by judges who must follow guidelines. I'm sure everyone will have their own opinion on drug laws etc. but the one thing I'm sure we will all agree on after watching this, is that this DVD is very necessary. BUY IT NOW!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars House I live in, 18 Feb 2014
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Purchase arrived quite quickly and was in good condition as described in advert. Film is definitely worth watching to see the appalling harm caused by Nixon's War on Drugs!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary, 2 Jan 2014
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Well worth watching, a very thought provoking assessment of the war on drugs, showing the issue from all perspectives. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Drugs business, 6 Sep 2013
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N. Connaughton (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House I Live In [DVD] (DVD)
Love it very much, it's everything it said it would be. Much food for thought, every Government should watch it
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5.0 out of 5 stars time for the debate, 29 Aug 2013
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This is a great documentary which I hope will open the debate into a radical rethink on the "war on drugs". It's a bad system and this highlights the problems but without being preachy.
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House I Live in [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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