Cocaine: A Film Analysis

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The drug, Cocaine, used to be a pharmaceutical drug prescribed when it was first discovered in the late nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century extending in to the twenty-first century, cocaine is classified as an illegal psychoactive drug that changes an individuals brain function to alter their perception, mood, and behaviours. The discovery of cocaine by the medical industry was an exciting one because cocaine offered a solution to morphine addiction. The distribution of cocaine across the globe originates in South America because the plant that cocaine is extracted from grows there. Despite cocaine having an illegal status, individuals consume the drug on a recreational basis. A well-known example of individuals that take cocaine…show more content…
The main characters of Scarface (1983) and Clean and Sober (1988) both can be considered as tragic heroes with a cocaine addiction. The main characters in their respective films are viewed “as tragic due to their struggle against the compulsion to use alcohol or drugs” . Scarface (1983), is distinct from the original Scarface released in 1932 because it focuses on the main character, Tony Montana’s (Al Pacino) addiction to cocaine. In the context of the film, “cocaine is capital and capital is cocaine” . The accumulation of capital can increase an individuals power in a capitalist society. Scarface (1982) focuses on the “constant and insatiable circulation of money, drugs, images, desire and power” in the world of the film. Clean and Sober (1988), on the other hand, shows a cocaine addict receiving treatment for his addiction. The main character in Clean and Sober, Daryl (Michael Keaton) is a real estate agent with a cocaine addiction. Prior to Daryl’s self admittance to a rehabilitation center for chemical dependency he “seems to be quite content with his lifestyle” of working at his job and taking cocaine in his spare time. Hollywood films that have their characters seek treatment for their addiction at Alcoholics anonymous, often “present an incomplete view of that organization” . Cocaine may be at the center of both films plots but Scarface (1983) focuses on the…show more content…
Cocaine would increase performers mental alertness especially if they were working long hours on a set. People that work on a film explain their consumption of cocaine to “the long hours of boredom on movie sets punctuated by a few minutes of frenetic work” . Off set, individuals may take cocaine to cope with the stress that comes with being a celebrity, such as harassment from paparazzi and pressure from the media to behave normally. There comes a time though when the consumption of cocaine becomes transparent and poses problems for the individual and the project they are working on at the time. Performers in the entertainment industry who have a cocaine addiction typically enter programs that “help in recovery for substance use disorders […] to understand and change their behaviour” . However, in the entertainment industry a “drug treatment setting might be used for entertainment purposes” instead of being treated as serious institutions that help people. Shows like Celebrity Rehab and Intervention are examples of drug addiction used as entertainment for the masses. The drugs that individuals are administering to themselves are not taken seriously and the health effects are exploited for network ratings. Although cocaine can help an individual with getting a good mood, the benefits do not outweigh the
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