Thursday, April 10, 2003

Just wait until it comes out on video.

In theory this movie could have been watchable given that director
Jonas Ã…kerlund is a music video/commercial director and a film about
speed freaks on a three-day drug binge could lend itself to the frenetic
type of editing the Swedish Ã…kerlund has used in his videos.
Unfortunately this story about a collection of addicts is not worth
editing, atleast not this by script by Will De Los Santos and Creighton
Vero. Rarely has a film relied more on caricatures than character
development. Additionally it borrows so heavily from other films about
drug use, in particular "Requiem for a Dream," it crosses the line of
paying homage to, or being influenced by other films about drug culture,
and winds up being completely derivative. At times I thought I was
having a flashback (no pun intended) to "Requiem"— especially the scenes
of the pupil dilating when one of the addicts got high. The film is a
two-hour exercises in gratuitous freakishness without the originality of
Harmony Korine’s "Gummo" (which it is very derivative of) or any of John
Waters’ films.

The fault does not lie solely on Akerland’s shoulders given the material
he had to work with, which unlike "Requiem" had the talents of the great
Hubert Selby Jr., writing the script. Despite a decent cast which
includes John Leguizamo as Spider the dealer and Jason Schwartzman as
Ross the college dropout/speed freak the performances are wasted. The
only redeeming thing about this film is Mickey Rourke— yep tis true. He
plays "the Cook" and spends his days in motel rooms cooking up
methamphetamine for Spider. In a one scene where the Cook is recounting
his childhood Rourke’s story is simultaneously funny and painful and has
an authenticity the rest of the film lacks. If only their were more moments like this
in the film. Not even Eric Roberts in a wig, which is extremely funny, can save this film.