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Film Review: Spun

A film that is to crystal meths what Trainspotting was to heroin...

The opening credits of the film read, "based on truths, and lies". The screenplay written by Wil De Los Santos is based on a real-life experience of his own when he, like Ross (Jason Schwartzman), spent three days driving a drug dealer around in the winter of 1995.

SPUNThe truths of the film are evident; these twenty-something's are being swallowed by their own addiction to crystal-meth. They do not realise the foul and nauseating level to which their lives have slipped.

Lies in the films are also apparent. In watching it I was immediately reminded of "Clockwork Orange". There is a sense that each scene is an exhibition to see just how disgusted and disturbed the debut director, Jonas Akerlund, could make his audience.

We are thrown into an eight-minute introduction, bringing the main characters under the magnifying glass of the camerawork. Ross (Jason Schwartzman) is a minor league, college dropout, meth addict who starts his dazed and cranked-up odyssey in the house of Spider Mike (John Leguizamo) his frenetic and comically paranoid dealer. Spiders girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari) bounds maniacally around the apartment shouting, flouncing and spray-painting her own bedroom wall. Nikki (Brittany Murphy) bounces up to answer the door in her giggly brain-numbed manner. It is she who provides Ross with a job as the private chauffeur to The Cook (Micky Rourke) and also the never-ending supply of meths.

If you've seen 'Requiem for a Dream' you will I?m sure agree that this flash-bang-wallop, use of strange camera angles and epileptic image changing can work incredibly well. On the other hand after only the first eight minutes of this film you feel violated, sea sick, ill and depressed. The only reassurance the audience has is that this disturbing image will change in a matter of milliseconds

This camera is ruthless. No rotten stained tooth, puss filled pimple or blood shot and red-rimmed eye is left unexamined. While watching Mena Suvari in a constipated state retching as she sits on the toilet you begin to question not only why you're still watching this depraved side show but also why anyone would wish to make such a film.

Films like Requiem for a Dream, D.O.A, GridLock'd and Trainspotting all convey the horrors of drug addiction. I was certainly not enamored by the idea of trying heroin after I saw Trainspotting. By end of these films these characters are either 1) destroyed, 2) on the way or going straight, or, 3) dead. At the end of Spun you were left with the feeling that Ross and Nikki all just need a quick nap and their cyclical life will start over once more. They are in no way reformed, simply spun.

From the lap-dancer that's going out with a drug dealer to the sad and depressing metal-fan, Frisbee, I felt no empathy with these characters at all. The only thing I cared about as the film went on was that I would not be subjected to this "Clockwork Orange" type forced viewing of hideous imagery again before end of the film.

As someone recently said after watched the "remake" of the Chainsaw Masacre, by the end you were rooting for the guy with the saw!

Kate Hickey

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