Finally A Drug Movie That's Actually About
Will De Los Santos, Creighton Vero
Dir. Jonas Akerlund
Str. Jason Schwartzman, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo,
Opens March 14th
Spun opens with the message "Based on the Truth...
And Lies." Ha Ha Ha, you chortle, that is so vague
it's intelligent. Actually no, it's not. I was pretty sure
this was a sign of poor things to come, but then with no
warning whatsoever you are thrust into an opening scene
which so perfectly depicts the gritty, edgy, jagged phase
and feeling of tweaking really hard that you forget about
everything else. At first it's impossible to engage the
movie, because it's trying to operate on such a different
level, to give you a totally different type of consciousness
but after a minute or two you are so sucked into the world
of the movie that everything outside of it just disappears.
And while there's nothing vague about the movie, and even
less that's intelligent, Spun is a well-made, accurate,
very wild ride.
As Spun progresses, the pace of the movie matches Ross'
(Schwartzman) reaction to his drug perfectly. As soon as
he scores the jagged edge of the first ten minutes is gone,
instantly, and so the cinematography and the sound calm
themselves down too; but, then, after a few minutes he begins
to itch for more, and likewise the movie starts to get a
little scratchy, and then when he finds more it softens,
and so on and so on, perpetually.
Most movies about drugs are peppered with a subtle anti-drug
message. Spun simultaneously manages to refuse to sink that
low and dish it out like it's never been dished before.
The movie is actually three or four constantly impending
disasters, not just one drug induced train wreck. You don't
wonder if Ross is going to make it out alive, rather you're
amazed that he's managed this long in this state. But it
isn't trying to say how awful a thing crystal is. Rather,
more like a documentary, it simply depicts the world of
the user flatly and without comment.
There are a lot of unnecessary pieces to this movie. Things
that don't quite make sense, things that restate themselves
over and over again, and are generally quite distracting.
Part of me wants to believe that this is to create an ambiance,
that without these extraneous bits the movie wouldn't feel
right. It wouldn't be distracting enough, but part of me
knows that they are thrown in to cover for a lack of depth.
Spun focuses so much on the drug that we lose site of the
characters, and the story. While there's a lot to the movie
that doesn't really work, there is as much that does. It's
interesting, but pointless, it never suggests a real problem,
and so never offers up a solution. Now I'm supposed to say
"it's a lot like life" but I won't.
Technically is where Spun really shines. The cinematography
by Eric Broms is excellent and the sound editing is reminiscent
of Darren Aronofsky's amazing drug interludes in Pi and
Requiem For A Dream. While Arronofsky is still doing it
best in my mind they do a great job here. There are some
very cool, well edited, and nicely mixed animation sequences
as well. These things all help Spun to be the fresh, original
work that it is.
Cameos by a Cheshire Cat
(the Cheshire cat being the coolest cameo is history)
First there's Debbie Harry as Ross' lezzy neighbor, and
there's Mickey Rourke as the cook of all things tweaky.
But keep your eye wide for Alexis Arquette, porn sensation
Ron Jeremy, pumpkin killer Billie Corgan. Of them all, however,
Eric Roberts has the best, hands down.
Three handcuffs for kink
For some reason Santos and Vero decided to throw in a girl
bound and gagged on a bed for the entire movie. Wonder what
they were on when they wrote that, eh?
Two and a half strung out tweaker hipsters methodically
cleaning their one bedroom apartment with a toothbrush
As you watch Spun, the novelty of the visuals and the characters
and the scene will wear off kind of quickly, and below the
surface this movie is somewhat lacking. It's still a good
movie, but with a more cohesive story, and deeper characters,
it could have been great. Possibly the best part is that
when you walk out of the theatre, you really will feel like