Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Spun (Jonas Akerlund, 2002)

In the world of drug movies, the meth-addled Spun is the polar opposite of the manic-depressive cocaine and heroin world of Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. Whereas Aronofsky's 2000 film is so bleak that I could barely watch it once, Akerlund's movie is a visual wonderland, an amoral playground that I can barely wait to visit again. Jason Schwartzman (who I have never really liked but absolutely adored here) is the centerpiece of the ensemble cast as Ross, young meth addict who becomes chauffeur for The Cook (Mickey Rourke, as great and sleazy as ever), major meth dealer, and his girlfriend Nikki (Brittany Murphy) and runs in and out of intertwining plot lines on the way, such as Spider Mike and Cookie, Frisbee and his mother, and reality-tv cops, as well as hilarious cameos by Debbie Harry (as Ross's super-butch neighbor) and Eric Roberts (as...well, I'll let you see that for yourself).

The visual style is frenetic, with parts animated and lots of lighting and camera effects. As with Requiem, visuals are repeated (or echoed) each time a characters gets high; the world spins up or the character is in the sky or some other visual interpretation of drug use. You feel panicky and jumpy when the characters are, an accomplishment in both writing and directing. The movie is actually funny, too, something that is hard to manage in a movie about serious drug use. Meth isn't funny, nor is it a drug that makes people more likeable. But Ross and Nikki are two people that I really wanted things to work out for - they're obviously sleazy and morally bankrupt, but they're not unlikeable, for some reason. Even when Ross kept April tied up for four days, it really seemed like something a person would do, and not sadistic and crazy somehow. Another thing that's not easy to do in a movie about drug abuse.

And while the movie is funny and the characters are actually likeable, meth use isn't glamorized in the least. I think the key in having the addicts be real people is the exclusion of people who aren't meth users (until the very end, in a terribly sad scene with Ross and his "girlfriend"). The audience gets wrapped up in this world with little alternative. Rourke and Murphy and especially Schwartzman are incredibly effective in that very act of audience inclusion. Akerlund is an extremely talented director (his music videos are fantastic) , especially considering that this was his first feature. According to imdb, his second feature, The Horsemen, is due this year, with a few Spun castmembers in tow; I cannot wait for it.


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Comments on "Spun (Jonas Akerlund, 2002)"


Blogger Adam said ... (1:06 AM) : 

love this movie, there's a guy that comes into Sears that looks exactly like mickey rourke's character


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