Drugstore Cowboy (6-Oct-1989)|
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writers: Gus Van Sant; Daniel Yost
From novel: Drugstore Cowboy by James Fogle
Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
Producers: Nick Wechsler; Karen Murphy
A hat on the bed??
Review by Wayne J. Cormack (posted on 27-Sep-2005)
Gritty, uncompromising and a very stark glimpse into the lives of four young drug addicts. They rob pharamacies, hole up in low places, shoot up, believe in jinxes, exchange humorous dialogue, and then move on, to do it all over again. This film has depth. Matt Dillon, as the 'leader' has rarely been this believable in a role. Kelly Lynch is gorgeous, even when she's strung out. Her character is finely tuned. Little Max Perlich, the rat faced character actor who usually can be counted upon to show up somewhere in a film about drug addiction, plays his doper/punk like it was just another day in the office.
Shot in the Pacific Northwest, this is no glamour run. These people are serious about their drugs and going about getting them, is what drives their very existance.
I enjoyed the late 70s backdrop and the light, breezy music juxtaposed against the grim reality of drug addiction is high art. The Matt Dillon character, the most insightful and reflective of the group, call his contemporaries, "TV babies". It is a befitting epitath for this lost generation, whereas instand gratification is of paramont importance. Outwitting the cops, taking it on the lamb and breaking into drug store pharamacies, may not be John Dillenger robbing banks, but for these characters, this setting and these activities, provide the perfect backdrop for their desperation and self-mockery.
The film deserves closer examination. It's not just another drug explotation film. It treats it's subject matter seriously, but knows when to throw in the hard earned laughs, as well. The acting is stellar. I actually did enjoy this one more, the second time around. Probably picking up on more subtlety and nuanced comedy, than after the first viewing.
The ending, is not a Hollywood ending, by any means, but there is a shot of redemption thrown in for good measure. Do yourself a favor and catch this underrated, if not underexposed little gem. If for no other reason, than to see Matt Dillon act and the late William S. Burrows salivate over a gift of pharmacutical diluadid.
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