Deep Cover

Deep Cover ★★★★½

“You are a drug dealer. Deal drugs”
In which undercover cop turned drug dealer Laurence Fishburne gets crucified for all the war on drugs sins. One of the finest mainstream political films of the 90s. A bloody text on the horrors of government policy towards the black and latin community and the drug trade from the 80s and the ones to come in the 90s. It is a shame Bill Duke’s directing career petered out after this (his debut A Rage in Harlem is pretty good as well), he does get a terrific script by Michael Tolkin and Henry Bean and a game cast doing career best or near best work (Fishburne, Jeff Goldblum, Gregory Sierra, Clarence Williams III, Charles Martin Smith), but his pointed angry direction has a beauty and focus that isn’t achieved that often. It is a blunt to the point film that has the simplicity of Fuller and the energy of Blaxploitation, moving from the blood money opening advice from Fishburne’s alcoholic father towards going as far as name checking then president Bush I connections to Noriega (in an election year wide release, no less). As a vision of war on drugs as a useless form of containment design to increase profits and screw minorities there is nothing quite like it, at least under 2 hours and a fictional format. That the film ultimate moral is delivered by a coked-up Jewish lawyer going through the ultimate high of playing at being a drug kingpin is just its final irony.

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