Catherine Zeta Jones’ career was only beginning to take off when she starred as part of Steven Soderberg’s stunning ensemble film about America’s ‘War on Drugs.’ She stars as a pregnant, wealthy housewife, whose husband is arrested in front of her and her child. Initially, she cannot comprehend the charges until she learns her husband is a drug kingpin and she is also a source of interest with the DEA. Considering she wants to revert back to the life she once had, this challenges her morality with the realization that anything she does to protect her family is actually aiding an illegal drug operation. Once she makes a decision, she becomes ruthless in a determination to save her and her family’s future.
Jones’ performance was particularly stunning for the level of gritty realism she brought to the role. She perfectly captured the moral obstacle of whether to align herself with the authorities, who she is aware will strip her of the life she once cherished, or abandon her morality to support her husband to retain the lifestyle she has. Using this arc for her character, Catherine Zeta Jones provides one of the most profound character metamorphoses on film. Jones further establishes through her character’s dilemma that her character truly believes her actions are in an effort to protect her family, opposed to serving her own interests. This allows for the viewer to speculate and debate as to whether she is desperate or a sociopath. Nonetheless, Jones arguably offers one of the most compelling characters within the drama genre of film.
Catherine Zeta Jones was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, leading many to believe she would be nominated in the supporting actress category. Unfortunately, it would take another two years when Jones starred in Chicago to be recognized by the Academy and finally win the Oscar.