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Imagine if Picasso had a camcorder
on April 27, 2009
Tweakers...abruptly...move, about a landscape, in choppy steps, observing and experiencing a KaLeIdOsCoPe of cartoonish COLORSSSSZZZZZ, visual spectacles, as ji-tt-er-y as possible------while desperately yearning for the next RAIL (is that a squirrel?) that helps them @V0!D the irritability and CRA.Sh.ing that occurs when the Grim Reaper's crystal meth-covered scythe knocks loudly (BANG! BANG!) at the door.
Most drug movies take the stereotypical way out. Pot joke here. Lame message or lesson there. With Spun, however, and the brilliant cast led by Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy, there is a bit more grease on the wheel, and the previous paragraph is the best I can do to truly represent the bizarre trip that Spun represents.
The movie follows Ross (Jason Schwartzman) - a borderline psychotic meth-head - over the course of three or four days, as he meanders his way throughout the drug world for each successively needed hit. Starting off at the house of a frantic small-time dealer named Spider Mike (John Lequizamo), whose paranoia and persona are a mix of battered ping-pong ball and horny schizophrenic, Ross meets Spider Mike's junkie girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari, who was obviously affected by the Gateway drug in American Beauty), and a fellow addict named Frisbee. When Spider Mike loses his stash - drugs'll do that to ya' - Ross moves up to the big leagues through Nikki (Murphy) - who personifies the drug-addicted stripper in nearly every role she plays; so, she nails the character - to The Cook (Rourke). The Cook is the coolest burnout ever, spewing out prophecy and poetry, both wise and ignorant, while convincing Ross to be his personal chauffer, paying him in small bags of drugs, like a dog being rewarded for playing fetch.
The rest is all about burning the candle at both ends, following addicts as day and night blends together in a hallucinatory cartoon of never-ending cravings. For the most part, the acting is superb. As mentioned, Rourke and Murphy are great, but Suvari is unconvincing, and a bit role from Eric Roberts is simply horrible. How far he has fallen from Best of the Best (and I am dead serious).
Ingeniously filmed, the blending of every imaginable artistic expression is there, but that's the strength as well as the weakness. At times the trip is quite distracting from the message. When it comes down to it, however, maybe that's the point? Maybe the skittish delivery is meant to be a pure depiction of the rambling affects of addiction. I enjoyed it for what it's worth, but not enough to become addicted; I just needed a taste.