Movie Review: The Culture High
The Cultural High by director Brett Harvey is one of the latest documentaries to stick its oar in and make a case for the legalisation of marijuana - by highlighting the vested interests within society that are making legalisation so hard.
It’s a two-hour, start to finish interview reel, interspersed with real life cases, putting forth the opinions of both celebrities and experts on marijuana legalisation. Interviews cover everything from the direct influences over prohibition, such as pharmaceutical interest, political manoeuvrings, and media misrepresentation; to things that impact it, but are not heard about as often, such as the law enforcement ‘industry’s’ reliance on prohibition to ensure their budget. They even talk about less connected issues, like NSA snooping.
Unfortunately, although some excellent and interesting points are made, it feels like Harvey is having trouble connecting the dots, as interviews jump from one issue to another. What we also found odd was some of the guest choices for interviews. Asking comedians for their opinions on the matter often came across as simple and clichéd rants, rather than constructed arguments for an educational and serious documentary. However, despite the fact director Harvey could have laid off the ‘stoner paranoia’ button a bit, we can certainly see what he was trying to achieve; and the interviews with former law enforcement officials, economists, and addiction specialists make for a clear case in favour of legalisation.
Although it has its flaws, on the whole, ‘The Cultural High’ is a good bit of cinema. The representation of some of the lesser known points in the argument for legalisation really make it shine through, and the parts that are not rants are often well thought out and highly relevant. Despite its lack of subtlety, Cultural High clearly puts a message across, even if it beats you senseless with it: fight for legalisation; don’t assume it will just happen. Certain aspects of society have a too vested an interest in maintaining the prohibition.
For this reason, we think ‘The Cultural High’ is well worth a watch. For those who live and breathe cannabis, most of the arguments are not going to be a surprise, but the few lesser known points, and the passion that has obviously been put into the production more than make up for it.