Running with the Devil – The law of the cartel, the review: Nicolas Cage and drug trafficking

The review of Running with the Devil – The law of the cartel, a film that accompanies us through the various stages of international drug trafficking, tonight on RAI4 in the first tv.

A tenacious federal agent is investigating some mysterious deaths related to a batch of badly cut drugs. The woman, personally involved after her niece was orphaned, is ready to do anything to track down the perpetrators behind this drug trafficking which has its branches from Mexico to Canada, but is grappling with an environment organized down to the smallest detail where everything is meticulously studied.

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Running With the Devil: Nicolas Cage in a scene from the film

Meanwhile in Colombia a local farmer is carrying a load of cocaine, backpack on his shoulder, which before arriving in the United States constantly increases its value: from the initial 1,600 dollars, when it ends up in the hands of the gangster known as The Boss it rises to over fifteen thousand . The latter instructs one of his most trusted men, the owner of a restaurant, to investigate why some of the drug shipments are hijacked and arrive in reduced quantities at their destination.

Everything and more

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Running With the Devil: a scene from the film

As you may have noticed in the synopsis shown in the previous paragraph, we did not use any proper names in the description of the characters and this is because the film itself labels them according to the role they play: from drug dealer to gangster, from cook to federal agent, they are all simple and anonymous pawns of a game bigger than them.
Why on the other hand Running with the Devil – The law of the cartel it is nothing more than a complex chess game that introduces us – in a more or less superficial way – to the dynamics that take place in international drug trafficking. From the farmers who live in the immense forests and produce the raw material to those who then sell it on the streets, up to the policemen in charge of thwarting the illegal activity, the ninety-minute viewing shows the many characters and the related situations where they are involved at the order to form the general picture.

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A race with breathlessness

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Running With the Devil: a scene from the film

Precisely in its excessive chorality, the film progressively loses its compass, since it is difficult to follow all the various passages – with some figures entering and leaving the scene over a couple of scenes – and there is no cohesive and uniform narrative to ferry. the public towards that basic linearity that an entertainment project, such as Running with the Devil is (or rather it would like to be), must necessarily have in order to get passionate about the story.
And instead the screenplay, by the same debut director Jason Cabell, gets lost in this multiplicity of looks, without ever finding the right key to reading and ending up making everything not only extremely simplistic but also terribly boring, with the sequences of action and themed canonical tension limited to a handful of scenes in the final half hour.

The two faces of crime

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Running With the Devil: Laurence Fishburne and Nicolas Cage in a scene from the film

Here then is that the few reasons of interest are to be sought in the cast, which sees in two of the major roles known faces of the caliber of Nicolas Cage And Laurence Fishburne: if the first here is in a more sober interpretation than his histrionic modus operandi, it is precisely the second who ironically plays the Nicolas Cage of the situation, with several overacting passages that are also the funniest in the film.
With the prologue that connects to the ending before the decisive epilogue, all the knots finally come home to roost but the hour and a half of vision is a sort of improvised collage, a forced communion of segments which in their attempt to form a unitary picture end up go astray on several occasions, transforming what on paper was a potentially original operation into a missed opportunity.


The various steps of international drug trafficking, from cultivation to distribution on city streets – with whoever takes it on to pay the dearest consequences – are at the heart of this atypical ensemble thriller, which would like to show the complexity of this criminal activity from country to country Country except getting lost in a cloud of characters and related uninspired subplots, with a more moderate Nicolas Cage than usual and a crazy Laurence Fishburne instead in the role of guest-star. Running with the Devil – The law of the cartel pays for its inhomogeneity in a segmented and not very cohesive mass, which is lost in its potentially interesting starting ambitions.

Because we like it

  • The presence of Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne increases the pleasantly sculptured aura of certain scenes.

What’s wrong

  • The script gets lost in subplots and essentially useless secondary characters.
  • The idea of ​​describing drug trafficking from A to Z requires many other means and scripts to be credible.

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