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Director Steve Soderbergh's color-saturated, fast-paced thriller takes a realistic look at the war on drugs and inadvertantly exposes the utter futility of declaring any winners. Taking off from prime-time television and shows such as COPS and America's Most Wanted, Soderbergh tackles the drug problem from all angles in a series of interrelated stories. The film follows two DEA agents who go undercover to successfully nab a drug baron, leaving his pampered wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Douglas' real-life squeeze), to belatedly discover how her posh lifestyle was funded: drugs. Zeta-Jones gets to bare her fangs in this role, going into wounded lioness mode to protect her upscale way of life as she takes over for her imprisoned husband. Michael Douglas stars as the country's smug, newly-appointed "drug czar" who discovers that his teen daughter has been messing around with crack, and Benicio Del Torro plays a Mexican cop who tries to do his job surrounded by corruption on all levels. Soderbergh himself filmed most of the hand-held camera shots, giving the movie an edgy realism as the different story lines finally join to a non-Hollywood conclusion. Rated R.

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