Parisian drugs-squad detective Lulu (Besace) has an obsessive mission, born of a hatred for the way drugs waste lives, as in the case of his junkie-prostitute friend Cécile (Guirao). But the department is underfunded; he's saddled with several colleagues who are incompetent, naive or racist; and his various relationships, with his superiors, his wife (Garcia-Fogel), addicts and informants, merely serve to muddy his idealistic code. Tavernier's documentary-style policier is admirable, intriguing, and finally something of a disappointment. On the credit side, it never pulls its punches, it's unsentimental in its depiction of both law enforcers and breakers, it acknowledges that both the system and racial inequality exacerbate the drugs problem, and its raw, rambling narrative makes for an impressively authentic alternative to the slick, heroic clichés produced by the Hollywood mainstream. But the film - engrossing enough in any ten-minute excerpt - lacks dramatic drive, frequently slipping into tedious procedural detail.