A traumatised Vietnam war correspondent can draw 'no more cheap morals' from the bloody absurdity around him. 'In a world where elephants are pursued by flying men, everyone's gonna want to get high' he reasons, as he blindly steps into the heroin business and joins the 'Dog Soldiers' of Robert Stone's novel and Reisz's excellent adaptation. Involving old buddy Nolte and his own wife Weld in his doomed dope deal, he precipitates a compelling chase through the corrupt moral wasteland of counter-culture/CIA-culture America. On the way, Washington power-play is mirrored in the casual sadism of the pursuers, and the conventional 'MacGuffin' role of the 2kg bag takes on a metaphorical charge. Reisz nimbly avoids the Big Theme style, finds the pace of his material early, and sustains it brilliantly, emerging with a contemporary classic of hard-edged adventure and three superb character studies.