59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Maybe not a perfect adaptation of the book, but hard hitting,
This review is from: Less Than Zero [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Though most reviewers commented on their disppointment that this movie missed the mark 1000% when it came to adapting the novel by Ellis to the big screen, I believe if you view this film as a message movie for the ages where drugs and excess are concerned, then you will be quite impressed. If not for Robert Downey Jr. and James Spaders' performances, however, the other actors could not have carried the message with such brutal force. Julian is a wreck of an addict, distraught over family issues, wild eyed with crazy drug induced moods, not really making it in school, and his circle of friends, male and female, are his only salvation. At the same time, they are his downfall, for Julian slides effortlessly into the glamorous world of sex, clubs and drugs with his friends right by his side. This picture came out in the eighties, when JUST SAY NO was on everyone's lips, and the dangers of "recreational" drug use were not exposed as vividly. Watching Julian's descent into hell feels like a punch in your chest, and the ending, though some may have seen it coming, shook me up considerably, having known a person with a similar fate back in my '80's high school days. Of course this film is not classic filmmaking or even original storytelling, but I think showing it to impressionable teens at an early age might not be a bad idea. And how accurately did art mirror life when, in the 1990's, Downey Jr. nearly killed himself getting high on everything under the sun. This film was not a far stretch for him.