Thursday, June 4, 2009

Panorama - Cocaine- Alex James in Colombia

With an estimated 800,000 users, Britain is a busy market for the cocaine trade. Which may be why Colombia's president Alvaro Uribe invited Alex James, the former Blur bassist (who has admitted to blowing £1 million on cocaine and booze) to visit his country and witness the effects of the drugs trade there for himself. The resulting film hangs together loosely: James, now reformed, seems a sweet man, but he's not a born reporter. Nonetheless, it's a heartfelt piece of work with some vivid moments, including the "mule" James meets who admits the only thing that would stop him trafficking is "a healthy sentence or a bullet", and an eye-opening sequence at a jungle lab where the drug is processed. More than one person James meets during his trip has since been murdered, forcing him to reflect that "it's a long, long way from a cheeky line at a dinner party in Notting Hill"

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