Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Jason Schwartzman,
John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Patrick Fugit, Peter Stormare, Brittany Murphy,
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 101 Minutes
Release Date: July 22, 2003
Despite having a
top flight cast of unlimited range, Spun
is one of those films where it can only be enjoyed if youíre in a certain
state. The film is very much about people under the influence of heroin, and the
storytelling process is essentially a frenetically hazy one that, I suppose, is
intended to convey the feeling of being under the influence of such. Aside from
that, and not being a big fan of drugs myself, the movie made me feel a little
uneasy, as I saw before me talented people going to endless extremes to make
themselves look as disgusting as humanly possible. But I guess if youíre a
junkie, thereís not much you can do about it.
The film can best
be described as an uninspired hybrid of Trainspotting
and The Salton Sea, both of which were
far more entertaining films about characters with similar predicaments, and both
were far more involving, as well. The story centers on Ross (Jason Schwartzman),
a clueless loser whoís looking to score a job so that he can score some quick
cash for quick drugs. He soon thereafter spotted by a local drug kingpin known
as Cook (Mickey Rourke). Ross is hired to be the Cookís personal chauffer, and
will in turn provide the kid with drugs instead of cash. Ross is an extremely
forgetful one, as he consistently forgets that he has left his girlfriend
handcuffed to a bed in his apartment.
job is to transport the drugs supplied to him by Cook to the house of Spider
Mike (John Leguizamo), who distributes it. Spider Mikeís house is also
frequented by junkies such as Cookie (Mena Suvari) and Frisbee (Patrick Fugit),
both of whom are fried out of their minds thanks to their love and affection for
meth. Spiderís main problem is that he can never seem to sell the supplies
because he ends up using them on himself.
Not too long after
beginning this new job, Ross becomes somewhat involved with Nikki (Brittany
Murphy), Cookís girlfriend. When she becomes completely fed up with her
boyfriend paying absolutely no attention to her, she turns to Ross to help her
get out of town so that she can start her life over. At the same time, a couple
of bumbling cops (Peter Stormare, Alexis Arquette), who happen to be taping a
reality cops show make a bust of just about everyone connected to this drug
ring, making matters hectic for all concerned.
The visual style of
Spun does make something of an
impression, but at the same time, itís been seen before. It seems as if the
makers of this film studied every frame of the far superior Requiem
For a Dream and applied it to increase the frenetic feeling. Certain visual
tricks are added to the sequences of characters getting high, and it just tends
to be a little too much after a while.
Spun is momentarily engaging but it simply manages to mark on familiar
territory in scene after scene. Despite a clever scene or two, you really
arenít going to get much from this film that you havenít gotten before.
Starís anamorphic offering is quite a decent one, given the way the film was
shot. A lot of close up shots are loaded with grain, but with purpose, while the
rest of the film seems to verge on a line between clear and the not so clear.
Itís a unique sort of visual style for a DVD release to handle, but it is
pulled off very well with this release.
Sound is a key
factor in this film, and CTSí 5.1 mix embraces this notion with a dead on
sound quality. Dialogue and occasional music are heard decently, but itís the
outrageous drug using scenes that give this presentation a memorable boost. It,
like the film itself, may induce a similar feeling that substances produce, but
then again, I wouldnít know a thing about that.
Included are some
deleted scenes, a music video, trailers and TV spots.