The House I Live In Reviews

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October 18, 2012
I Don't Like Documentary Films.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2014
Recently, Michael Moore, in his self-appointed role as commissioner of documentaries, gave a list of guidelines that documentary filmmakers should follow. One of them is to get in front of the camera. And with the documentary "The House I Live In," we can see where that might not always be such a good idea as in making a film about the failed drug war in the United States that affects so many poor and people of color, director Eugene Jarecki comes at it from the privileged point of view of his Connecticut family who employed a nanny for many years.

So while that holds true, Jarecki does provide some keen insights here, especially as it relates to the draconian mandatory minimum sentences non-violent drug offenders face. And he benefits greatly from speaking to David Simon. But at the same time, there is a lot of material that is certainly not new(Bloom County or Bill Hicks, your choice). Plus, the documentary is now a little dated since marijuana has recently been legalized in Colorado and Washington while omitting other material like say about prohibition, which might clash with the movie's overall thesis about everything being racist and classist, ignoring the United States's long puritanical streak in favor of whatever conspiracy theories happen to come along.
½ December 14, 2014
This film is so poignant about a situation that cuts deeply through American culture -the disenfranchisement and isolation of our poorest class under the guise of a war on drugs. Essential viewing.
November 25, 2014
Adopting a rational and intelligent position from a political, social and historical perspective, this fundamentally important documentary lays out the egregious failures, and extraordinary corrosion of liberty, community and public life precipitated by America's myopic 'War on Drugs'.
October 7, 2013
Documentary covering the failures of the American war on drugs.

Kind of dispassionate. Sidelines the racial implications of the war. Actually states that the war on drugs equalizes poor people, regardless of race, ignoring the fact that poverty and incarceration both affect blacks and minorities ...what, 4x more? than whites. Don't pretend not to see that.

Barely divulges any new data, and focuses largely on crack.
December 25, 2013
Drug wars have messed us up.
August 12, 2014
Pretty good documentary about the evils of cops, politicians, prosecutors and judges serving the almighty dollar, if not just their completely racist fantasies. All because the ignorant American population lets them.
July 20, 2014
A fascinating and eye opening documentary from Eugene Jarecki looking at America's 'war on drugs'. A war that has been going on for 40 years without any success. Since 1971 more than $1 trillion has been spent on this war resulting in more than 45 million arrests, yet illegal drug use has remained unchanged and US prisons are over populated with non-violent criminals serving long mandatory sentences.
Here Jarecki interviews politicians, campaigners, law enforcers, inmates and dealers about this ridiculous situation which is more about politics and class persecution and he attempts to find out where it all went wrong and look to a way out of it.
September 1, 2013
An absolute masterpiece that reveals the darkest side of America or how capitalism and greed have finally found a radical solution to economic inequalities and the danger it implies for society: jailing the poor, and turning prison into an horrific business. One of my favourite documentaries.
April 22, 2014
Insightful fact based documentary on probably the biggest folly of modern western policy making.
September 7, 2012
As a film its a bit incoherent and veers a little towards left wing conspiracy but it certainly address important issues.
January 30, 2014
Sundance 2012: Won the Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
January 27, 2014
Excellent documentary that makes a very impressive argument that we need to revoke the law pertaining to mandatory minimum prison sentences, particularly for non-violent crimes.

This documentary helps prove what I have been saying about the prison industrial complex for decades: It's about money, not about people.

The prison system in the United States is no longer about racism, but about classism. Those on the top make tons of money off of the people on the lower end of the spectrum. It's rather sickening.
January 26, 2014
Some documentaries make you see things in a new way, some simply show you a part of the world you were hitherto ignorant of, and some make you weep. This film did the later and reminded me why injustice sickens us. This is one of those films which is so powerful in it's depiction of a system made by man that it makes it harder to believe the world is safe in our hands, and relieved that ultimately it isn't. One of the best films I have watched in a long time on a subject I probably would have had scant interest in were it not for having watched five jaw-dropping seasons of HBO's The Wire, the writer of which features heavily.
½ July 3, 2013
If knowing a man will die in prison for holding as much meth as the size of a ping pong ball doesn't make you sick, you're surely part of the problem - and the solution if anything is ever to be fixed. And 30 years down the road, this is the film teachers will show to their students; mothers and fathers their children - as a history lesson - whether things have changed or not.
January 11, 2014
An interesting look at the drug war. I don't know what the solution is but i know the penalty's are a little high, but i knew this before the film.
½ December 24, 2013
A brilliant exposure of the utter failure of the US's 'War on Drugs'. Shocking revelations that the supposed war is actually an attempt to suppress the poor and hopeless.
December 5, 2013
While this documentary opens your eyes to a debate that may not surface too often and lays down some pretty horrifying facts, the argument that's taken at the end is quite appalling. I walked away feeling that the documentary wanted us to view the war on drugs as a negative impact to society. So much so, that people using drugs should be an OK thing and people dealing drugs should be punished lightly (if punished at all). Each individual in this film seems to forget that drugs ruin lives. Drugs ruin the lives of the user, their families, and everyone and everything around them. The whole story is based off of the director's "nanny" who lost her child to drugs. While she claims that she "never understood the war on drugs" as she mourns her son, she is forgetting the fact that he ultimately made the wrong decision to use and unfortunately paid the ultimate price (death). To look back on his life and blame "the system" is ignorant and irresponsible. The war on drugs is also not forcing a specific race, color, gender, etc to sell or abuse drugs (which is another argument in this film). Its up to the individual to make the right decisions in life. Users and dealers know the criminal penalties related to drugs and don't have a right to complain when they go to jail for a long period of time. While the jail time is definitely harsh and outdated, it is there to protect society from people that could potentially harm it. In the end, I came away more upset and angry towards users and dealers because their lack of judgement, moral character, and responsibility is ultimately what hurts society. Not the war on drugs
February 7, 2013
This documentary will make you realise what the war on drugs is really all about. Should be mandatory viewing for all politicians.
½ November 17, 2013
A very good documentary about the true toll of the War on Drugs in America! It really gives an honest & old-school journalistic approach to the subject. It's not always easy to follow, but it is a very good idea to watch this film.
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