Showtime Miniseries Explores Addiction
If you happen to be a Showtime subscriber, now would be a very good time to click open your program guide and record The Trade. This highly acclaimed miniseries is now airing on the network in five parts and offers a thorough, brutally honest look at addiction in America. Helmed by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman (who drew praise for his doc, Cartel Land), it zeroes in specifically on the opioid crisis.
Heroin figures prominently into The Trade’s storyline, with profiles that include struggling addicts in Ohio and the criminals who harvest it over in Mexico. Heineman has already drawn praise for this stylistic portrait, which The L.A. Times described as “a wide-ranging report with no advice to give, only pictures to show.”
The Ohio portion gets right to the heart of America’s opioid epidemic, as the state is one of the most hardest hit by this crisis. Various types of residents are portrayed, illustrating the wide range of emotions that go along with these addictions. There are the hard-on-their-luck parents who are desperately trying to get clean (to no avail). And there are also the people who show complete contentment with their dependency and tell the cameras that they have no desire to let go of their habit.
“Everyone is trying to break free of the shackles of this drug, but unfortunately, it has become an epidemic.” Heineman explained to TheFix.com. “”We really want to show people the personal costs of a lot of this. [And we want to] raise the more challenging questions that we feel need to be asked about the opioid epidemic and the drug trade as a whole.”
The section of the film that is really raising eyebrows, however, takes place in the Mexican mountain town of Guerrero. Guerrero happens to be responsible for half of all heroin that’s produced in the country and Heineman’s cameras were able to go deep into its underworld. Felons, traffickers and even cartel leaders are featured in the doc, as are Mexican Federales as they try to make a dent in this growing operation. The Trade even goes so far as to show the actual production cycle of heroin, from poppy plant to full-blown narcotic.
As The Times astutely puts it, the central theme behind this movie is pure entrapment. Those living in Mexico producing the drug are trapped in a life of crime and poverty. And those struggling in Ohio are trapped in a cycle of crippling addiction.
For those who subscribe, we highly recommend seeing this doc. And for those who don’t, you can at least get a sample of The Trade below…