Review: ‘Fix: The Story of An Addicted City’

Engrossing docu examines the clash between City Hall, activists, residents and police in Vancouver, B.C., where an overwhelming street-drug problem has elicited divergent ideas about treatment and enforcement. Subject's applicability to most major cities will make Canadian feature of interest to global fests and educational broadcasters.

Engrossing docu “Fix” examines the clash between City Hall, activists, residents and police in Vancouver, B.C., where an overwhelming street-drug problem has elicited sharply divergent ideas about treatment and enforcement. Subject’s applicability to most major cities will make Canadian feature of interest to global fests and educational broadcasters.

Like southern neighbor Seattle, Vancouver has a disproportionate population of heroin and crack users, variously attributed to the temperate climate, liberal politics, etc. HIV infection and overdose rates are off the charts. Principal figures here are Dean Wilson, a top-selling IBM salesman turned junkie, and unlikely ally Ann Livingston, a clean-living Christian single mom with missionary zeal toward issues of the downtrodden. They’re trying to convince the city to create safe injection sites, proven in Europe to greatly improve statistics on health and reduce crime. Surprisingly, conservative Mayor Philip Owen is won over to the cause; but business interests and Chinatown residents strongly oppose any such “coddling” of addicts. Political struggle is emotionally grounded by the dynamic between Wilson and Livingston — two very different yet similarly stubborn, rabble-rousing personalities whose loyal alliance is like a quarrelsome marriage. Verite package is well handled.

Fix: The Story of An Addicted City

Canada

Production

A Canada Wild production. Produced by Betsy Carson, Gary Marcuse, Nettie Wild. Executive producer, Marcuse. Directed by Nettie Wild.

Crew

Camera (color, Digital Betacam), Kirk Tougas, Wild; editor, Reginald Harkema; original music, Dennis Burke, Sal Ferreras. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Perspective Canada), Sept. 10, 2002. Running time: 92 MIN.
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