Saturday, January 14, 2017

SPUN (2002)

Directed By: Jonas Akerlund 
 Written By: Will De Los Santos & Creighton Vero 
Cinematography By: Eric Broms 
Editor: Jonas Akerlund & Johan Soderberg 
Music By: Billy Corgan 

Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Patrick Fugit, China Chow, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Debbie Harry, Charloette Ayana, Peter Stormare, Alexis Arquette, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Josh Peck, Billy Corgan, Ron Jeremy, Tony Kaye

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a 'speed freak', to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.

 *Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review

This is one of those films that Lola great and feels constantly surreal and can be enjoyed not that level. As since it is directed by noted music video director Jonas Ackerlund. His feature film debut. it is meant to be watched and marveled at visually. I only wish it had been better written. As this is a film that can easily be watched with the sound off and out on in the background at a party or bar.

He gets to use his more visual sensibilities. On the big screen, but what works in five minutes is hard to hold interest in for 90 minutes necessarily. It feels more self indulgent than anything else.

Like most in demand music video directors with a distinct style. It was only a matter of time before he was attaching himself and yielding offers to make films. So it was greatly anticipated when he finally went into production with this film. As most are hoping for another Spike Jonze (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH) Michel Gondry (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) or Mark Romanek (FROM HER) some break even like Jospeh Kahn (TORQUE, DETENTION) or Marcus Nispel (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (remake), CONAN THE BARBARIAN (remake)) --The film includes more than 5,000 edits, a record. Which makes me wonder if he really missed out on directing any of the CRANK movies.

While the film doesn't glamorize drugs or the life of addicts. It does have a fascination with them using them for comedy and some drama. As the film shows in gory glorious detail the filth, nastiness and mundaneness of their lives. Though it also showcases a certain visual flair in it’s style that is beautiful and somewhat inspiring. Though seems to want to glamorize dirt and trash to a degree. To show or at least treat it as precious. on one hand it can be seen as audacious as the poor and addicted are hardly ever shown as protagonists in a more mainstream highlighted film. Except to be exploited, treated as comic relief or villains. Which it seems like they are here to a degree. At least the lifestyle as all the roles are filled with actors. Who seem to make the most of those Screen time improving especially John Leguizamo as the dialogue often seems less scripted the. Just thought of in the moment.

The film is all style with no real or very little substance except to make excuses for certain shots and scenes. It has a notable cast but a very minimal story and script. That seems to have so many characters only to provide cameos. As a significant part of the story and screen time is taken up revolving around characters bowel movements or lack of them. The film seems more like a showcase for all involved to play offbeat roles. They are not known for or rarely given the chance to portray. For instance Mena Suvari gets to play a meth'd out woman with gross personal hygiene rather than the beauty. Though for some you wonder why they are In The film. More to seem cool or work with one another or just to do something wild and out there. As most are better than the material.

This film started a comeback for Mickey Rourke as he has a more important role. His character The Cook is charming, intimidating and quiet. He has a sense of danger about him. As he is tough but never violent.

Most of the characters revolve around him. Even though he only actually comes into contact with a few.

Originally intended to be a documentary entitled "The Cook" about Methamphetamine cooks (makers of the drug) and its dealers and abusers. Instead, the project became a screenplay based on three days in the life of the film's creator/writer/co-producer, Will De Los Santos as he drove a methamphetamine cook around Eugene, Oregon, for three days in the winter of 1995.The original cut was 3-1/2 hours long.

I'm not squeamish and if a film wants to devote itself to unlikeable characters. Who all come across as degenerates that is fine as it plays into it's Strengths, but all I ask is it be interesting it have something to say. A reason for it's creation other than just being visual. It has to lead somewhere. As this film just seems lost and leaves the audience there to hopefully just be entertained by the characters bikinis until the end. I can understand if the film is trying to relate itself to the addicts and just as they are easily distracted so does the film become the same way.

This is a film that could have been good if only it had more of a point or been worked on story wise as it seems to have plenty of elements but doesn't know what to do with them. So it all just seems about everything is cool and looks cool. Looking like. a meth addicted junkie is the ultimate act of rebellion. A punk act and outsider status. A kind of rebellion against the norm. Instead of heroin chic this film is more about meth chic.

When it first came onto the scene and slowly started to become a growing epidemic before the addicts became more cliche in cinema.

This film and THE SALTON SEA, were some of the first films to really put a spotlight on characters with this particular addiction.

Madonna was originally cast as The Neighbor, then porn star then Ginger Lynn. The role eventually went to Debbie Harry. Madonna backed out because of scheduling conflicts with her 2001 North American tour. Lynn backed out for unknown reasons, and was replaced by Harry.

The films humor tries to stay and believe it is dark. It comes off more as just plain old cruel.

This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy then anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating

Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. Sure visually it is great and the cast is likeable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has a eye for visuals but he needs to find material that match his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be a epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photo shoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss.

There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit, one can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement but it’s just a wasted endeavor here in fact the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it ‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is.

You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops and all the usual taboo material. But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge.

Jonas Ackerlund knows how to work and create great images. He just need to work on having more meaning to define them or at least go along with them.

Grade: C-

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