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Helen De Michiel
Angel celebrates the birth of his daughter by taking his first hit of crack cocaine. With the hesitant support of his wife, Monika, he joins a friend of his to deal drugs for a short time--enough time to get out of debt and buy some nice things for the family. Three years later, Angel is still dealing, and has not saved any money, instead spending it on crack. His addiction grows, straining his friendship and his family life, and he gradually loses control. Written by
James Meek <email@example.com>
Without Mira Sorvino, Paul Calderon and (most especially) Michael Imperioli, this would have been just the latest "Afterschool Special" edition of "Panic In Needle Park" crossed with "The Man With The Golden Arm" and a few of the seven naughty words the FCC so dislikes.
I can see why it took a couple of years (and probably Mira's Oscar) to get this movie released. The writing is uninspired. The directing is just okay. And the feel of the film is cheap, even for a low-budget indie from New York.
But the acting! Mira Sorvino shines as Monika. Paul Calderon makes Raymond's shift from good buddy to monster not only plausible but inevitable. And Michael Imperioli as Angel...he's got the chops, baby. I realize most everybody knows him as Christopher from "The Sopranos" (and he's good in that), but here he blinds us with Angel's hunger -- from needing to provide for his family right through to needing the rocky stuff.
Intended message -- "Stay away from drugs, children, or they'll ruin not only your life but the lives of those who love you."
Actual message -- "With fine actors, even leftover meatloaf can seem like prime rib."
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