Allow me a kind word for Maria Full of Grace, which arrived in theaters this summer and is now out on DVD. It is the quietly heart-wrenching story of a Colombian drug mule, who turns to crime after quitting her demeaning job clipping thorns from roses in factory-style plant.
What distinguishes the movie is its restrained use of violence and uninterrupted focus on the drug trade from the point of view of a secondary agent. For every drug lord, of course, there are hundred of small-time operators, helping the business along. This is the perspective of Maria Full of Grace as the 17-year-old main character learns to swallow large pellets of drugs by practicing with grapes.
The little things add up, ultimately to a very good movie, one made of character and fantastic real-life details, and none of the brutality associated with drug movies.
The movie’s writer-director Joshua Marston has avoided making an arse of himself in the press, by, say, extolling the sudden rainshower of blessings that would immediately follow legalization. In fact, the one comment I heard him make during a brief listen to the director’s commentary was that he hoped, after watching this movie, American drug users would keep in mind the black market they were funding and its dehumanizing effects on innocents like Maria.
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