Target Number One (2020)


The plot of the film is presented with the help of a two-part narrative that plays with time. The main protagonist is the investigative journalist Viktor Malarek, who for his new article investigates the arrest of an allegedly big drug smuggler Daniel (excellent Antoine Olivier Pilon), who is accused of importing heroin from Thailand to Canada through his contacts. In addition to Victor’s attempts to clarify this case, we follow Daniel’s experiences before and during his stay in prison, as well as the team of inspectors who participated in his arrest with the unreliable dealer-informant Picker (Jim Gaffigan).

I am of the opinion that this is a really good basis for a film because the story is unusual and there are several characters whose behavior, reactions and motives have the potential for a more detailed screenplay. The character of Daniel represents a guy who is trying to get by financially and who again falls into the clutches of addiction, and in his history of staying in Thailand, an opportunistic criminal sees an opportunity to make good money – he creates a conspiracy with federal inspectors who want the public to see them as effective in the war against drugs.

As the story progresses, it is inevitable that you will feel increasing anger and frustration, especially because you can find excuses for criminals, given that fraud and illegal earnings are their lifestyle, but what about police officers? Their actions were paved with relatively good intentions, with the goal of proving their worth, but in the absence of real traffickers in the war on drugs, they managed to create their own. Worst of all, they have not deigned to admit their mistakes, so it is really hard to find any kind of excuse for their actions.

The scenario is such that practically after one scene we have an idea of ​​how things got out of control. Viktor’s need to fight corruption and the nose of a quality journalist lead him to Thailand and meeting Daniel, when we become aware of how much deception, lying and manipulation are needed to get to the situation Daniel is in. At the beginning of the film, we learn that there was even the death of a police officer, so immediately after watching the film, I looked for more information about this bizarre case on the Internet. It turns out that Alan is still seeking justice and compensation for all that he suffered.

I feel that the biggest problem with this movie is that the Malarek character gets way more time in the movie than he should. The fact is that without his involvement, this story probably wouldn’t have happened, but his conflicts with newspaper editors and his personal problems complicated and diluted the scenario a bit. I was not interested in almost anything else except the character of Daniel, and this type of storytelling means that we do not fully devote ourselves to any part of the story. In the mass of characters and time jumps of the plot, the viewer’s attention slowly wanes, so a standard biopic in this case might be a much better solution.