Saturday, March 7, 2009

PTA/GVS marathon #2:Drugstore Cowboy.

"Most people don't know how they're gonna feel from one moment to the next. But a dope fiend has a pretty good idea. All you gotta do is look at the labels on the little bottles. " Bob(Matt Dillon)
Drugstore Cowboy is a movie about four people who spend their days robbing pharmacies to feed their drug addiction. We follow their escapades as they avoid being caught by cop Gentry(James Lemar) deal with one member who is not in sync with the overall group, and to make sure that there is never, I mean never, a hat put on a bed. It is a very different movie to the other ones about drug addiction, movies like Requiem for a dream, because here drug addiction isn't displayed as a wasteful life where you would crawl into the gutter for illegal drugs(or maybe the worst toilet in Scotland), instead a life that contains thrills and spills, but is also dangerous for all involved, like what Goodfellas did for gangsters. sure it isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better then being Renton from Trainspotting(remember? this is the guy who didn't choose life?)
Here we are presented with characters that break through the cliche before it existed. Characters that can keep their drug addiction and their sanity, to still live reasonably ordinary lives.
And it works, well. But I couldn't help leaving a bit disappointed. It's a good movie, definitely, but I was expecting this to be a very experimental Van Sant film, one in the lines of Elephant or Paranoid Park. to see this movie played straight was a bit of a let down, and especially since I think the filmmaking does nothing substantial to the movie. It is good, but I couldn't see Van Sant's style in the movie. I think I may need to see this one more time to fully appreciate it, but I wasn't as taken with this as I thought I would be.
It was more a story I took the ride with, watching these people try to sate their addictions, to stay away from the destructive lifestyle of a lonely drug addict. wondering what was going to happen after the group is hexed(Dogs. Don't mention dogs.) the hexes were the most interesting part of the film, with the largest hex not being described fully, a nice touch, and after one gang member rebels, and hexes the group on purpose, to watch their operations go into decline horribly(Sheriff's convention. Who could have guessed?). It also has a shocking and disturbing ending, one that catches you off guard but makes perfect sense. It was a movie I was caught up in.
Yet it did nothing for me. I have no interesting things to say about Drugstore Cowboy. It's just a pretty good drug movie. However, Matt Dillon is amazing in this. He perfectly embodies this man who thinks that drugs are the answer to life, who can't stop thinking about the next score, and who can't let go of his superstitions. He makes Bob distant, but believable, which in a role like this is perfect. the supporting cast does their job well, with no real stand outs, at least for me.
I can recommend this film, as it is a well wold story, but with the pedigree of Van Sant bringing nothing interesting to the table, I was incredibly disappointed.
Verdict: A well told story, but where the hell did Van San go?

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