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Courtney Love does much to glamorise a pretty much unknown beat legend character, and provides a languorous air as she floats between scenes as the estranged Mrs Burroughs.
However, for me, the story veers too much from the truth to order to create a mainstream product. This is a pity when you are dealing with real lives and real literary history.
The disintegrating, complex relationship between the married couple would have sufficed for an interesting enough story for a Beat fan, but may not have provided much 'spice' for the public.
In this version of events, Joan's use of benzedrine (speed) is played down and her rampant addiction and resulting degeneration is never explored, this could be because of the intended general american audience.
I'm not too sure of the whole Lucien affair thing either...
At the closing credits, you're left with a feeling that perhaps Joan Vollmer may have emerged alongide the greats of the beat movement had she not been killed.
In fact, she may not have lasted much longer on her own as alcoholism, the effects of her addiction, drinking and a long-standing illness began to overtake her.(...) pretty much covers it.
One final note for Burroughs fans looking to buy - all the actors do a great job of each character, Keifer Sutherland puts some effort in with the mannerisms and delivery (+ a spot-on wardrobe) in the crucial role.
I'd reccommend this if you're interested in the subject, or would like to see more of the phenomenal Norman Reedus. I've yet to see him perform poorly in any movie, regardless of the audience or the budget of the film.
I was going to write that the cast wasn't given much to do but late in the film Sutherland wrings some emotion out of Burroughs who was a stoic, taciturn person, but Sutherland brings some real heartfelt emotion to Burroughs. Sutherland is a much finer actor with a greater range than his "24" character Jack Bauer would betray and it is somewhat a pity that Sutherland isn't picking more diverse roles such as "Beat." It would really demonstrate his range as an actor.
The one real problem is that Kiefer Sutherland and Courtney Love look to healthy to be Joan and William Burroughs. As mentioned in the film Burroughs moved to Mexico to have an unfettered supply of drugs where he could just go down to the drugstore and get some morphine, Sutherland doesn't look like a person mainlining morphine. Joan prior to moving to Mexico was so strung out on Benzedrine that in the middle of the night she was scrapping lizards off the trees in their front yard, neither look lost in the drug the movie describes or that the real people were at at this point in their lives.Read more ›
What's interesting about Courtney Love is that a woman who has such an over-the-top, larger-than-life persona can actually appear very subtle as a film actress. In the late 90's, after her (deservedly) praised performance in "The People Vs. Larry Flynt", Courtney Love actually had a shot at a successful film acting career. "Beat" is the first time I think I've ever seen her playing a true romantic lead, and I was surprised by how well she does here. Courtney Love is not a conventional beauty, but with her wide, expressive mouth, husky voice, and air of mystery, she is believable playing a woman who served as a muse and object of desire for a small group of creative friends, two of which ended up famous for their contributions to the "beat" generation of writers.
If Courtney had been able to maintain her sobriety and sanity, she could have emerged as a great character actress. This film offers a glimpse of what might have been.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A few weeks ago I watched a film made in the year 2000 called BEAT, regarding some of the major figures of the "Beat" writers group. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christopher S. Soden
I will pretty much watch anything with Norman Reedus, but this movie but kind of terrible.Published 6 months ago by Danielle Himes-Herrera
O.K. movie. It kept me mildly interested. Courtney Love, as always, looked like she needed a shower/shampoo/conditioner Unless you're very interested in Burroughs (as I am), don't... Read morePublished 7 months ago by dancinqueen
About a beginning assuming the viewer knows how that moment in time came to occur & what followed. What the relationship of what followed may have been... Pacing is period correct. Read morePublished 8 months ago by M.A.
There's a lot to be told in the story of William S Burroughs and Joan Vollmer's tragic relationship; unfortunately this was not the right vehicle to tell the story. Read morePublished 11 months ago by gtoman67