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|Rhys Ifans||Howard Marks|
|Chloë Sevigny||Judy Marks|
|David Thewlis||Jim McCann|
|Jamie Harris||Patrick Lane|
|Christian McKay||Hamilton McMillan|
|Ken Russell||Russell Miegs|
|Kinsey Packard||Patti Hayes|
|Omid Djalili||Saleem Makik|
|Andrew Tiernan||Alan Marcuson|
|Chloe Sevigny||Judy Marks|
|Jack Huston||Graham Plinston|
The film begins in 2010, with a 65-year-old Howard Marks going onto a stage in front of a packed theater to great applause. Marks asks if there are any plain-clothes policemen sat in the audience, to which the reply is negative. Then, whilst lighting up a joint, Marks asks "who here is a marijuana smoker?", to even greater applause. The film then diverts into Marks' internal monologue as he recounts his life.Born in the Welsh valleys in 1945, young Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) – later nicknamed Mr Nice – excels academically to much higher than the national standard of the United Kingdom. This remarkable aptitude earns him a scholarship to Oxford University at nineteen years old, reading philosophy and physics, but Marks' destiny changes forever one night when dutifully studying alone in his dorm. A beautiful, rebellious and hedonistic foreign exchange student from Latvia, Ilze Kadegis (Elsa Pataky) - breaks into Marks' room, looking for a secret passageway within. Marks follows Kadegis through the secret passageway and into a forgotten storage space used by one of the school's top marijuana dealers, Graham Plinson (Jack Huston). Kadegis seduces Marks, and introduces him to cannabis for the first time. For the next few years, Marks becomes an enthusiastic customer of Plinson's, and continues his love affairs with both Kadegis and cannabis; the group enjoy a series of wilder and wilder nights, with their academic lives suffering as a result.Circumstances change for the worse when Plinson introduces the group to LSD. When rich heir Joshua Macmillan, a friend of Marks', dies of overdose, and Marks impales his foot on a spike, Marks vows off ever touching drugs again - or at least the harder variety of drugs. The trio of Marks, Kadegis and Plinson promise to each other to turn over a new leaf, and they pass their scholarships through some intense last-minute revision, and a little cheating. They then all move onto teacher training jobs at the University of London in 1967, where Marks hastily marries Kadegis. Fractures begin appearing in the early stages of the marriage, with Marks becoming despondent, apathetic and suspecting Kadegis of having an affair. What's more, Marks gets into trouble at the London University for "having long hair and flashy suits".When plans to bring a large cache of hashish into England via Germany go wrong with Plinson getting arrested, Marks steps in to help - figuring he has nothing left to lose anyway. Marks goes to Germany and drives the car with the stash inside across the borders himself, simply driving through customs. The customs officers are on the lookout for Plinson's crew, but do not know Marks, who sails through without incident. Marks says the thrill of getting away with it was like "religious flash and an asexual orgasm". When selling the hashish back in London to an Arab oil sheik named Saleem Malik (Omid Djalili), Marks makes a fortune, and swifty becomes addicted to this new but dangerous lifestyle as a big league marijuana trafficker - eventually running a large percentage of the world's cannabis.It is a path that will lead Marks face-to-face with terrorists, government agents, and lose him his freedom to one of the toughest prisons in the United States in 1988, through to the present day as a media personality and cult hero.
Theatrical : 2011-06-03 : United States of America
DVD : 2011-10-11