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--... See full summary »
Jenny, who has rejected her tumultuous family for a more ordered life, gets a surprise visit from her sister Lucy at a critical time - right at the moment where she's feels ready to commit to her longtime fiancé.
A documentarian decides to follow the career of New York actress Lisa Picard, believing she is on the brink of fame. Instead, he bears witness to Lisa's continued, humorous, struggles as an... See full summary »
Ted, a stuffy white guy from Illinois working in sales for the Barcelona office of a US corporation, is paid an unexpected visit by his somewhat less stuffy cousin Fred, who is an officer ... See full summary »
Walrus-like warden, Sven "Swede" Sorenson, a cross between Bluto and Wimpy, runs the prison, murders convicts who escape, and has the FBI on his trail in the form of agent Karen Polarski, ... See full summary »
Thomas Haden Church
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Obvious writing is made better by solid (if unspectacular) delivery
Celebrating the birth of his first child, Angel's drinking pal Raymond takes him to a crack den where they both take hits Angel's first. The first hit is easy and Angel soon finds himself making it a regular habit, but still holding it together enough to keep his job and family happy. Years pass without incident but Angel and Monika are unhappy, they have two kids now and money is always very tight. So when Angel gets the offer to get involved in dealing he takes it and happily watches the money starting to roll in, but with time Angel finds himself sucked into the darker side of the drugs world including violence, drug abuse and murder. As his using gets more frequent, money becomes tighter and Angel gets trapped in a vicious circle.
When a film contains a character who starts dabbling with crack on the basis that he can control it, it seldom surprises an audience to find things spinning out of control and said character falling into a pit of despair with slippery sides. And so it is with this film, it keeps to the plot route that we have been taught to expect from such a film and doesn't do a great deal to vary from it. It will come as no shock to learn that Angel gets out of his depth with the drugs, gets in debt to gangsters, risks his marriage etc etc. The plot never risks keeping us awake by doing anything new and the script pretty much serves up the dialogue you'd expect from the characters. It is interesting enough but it is very formulaic and will bring nothing new to viewers who have seen this story told better in other films.
What just about saves it from being dismissable is some solid delivery from a cast of up and comers. Imperioili has played a man captured by drugs in Sopranos where he was given much better material to work with but he still does well here. He is given average material but still turns in a believable performance it would be better if it wasn't all so predictable but he does well with what he has. Sorvino is less convincing and never struck me as a believable character; it may have been weaknesses in the writing but her performance doesn't really help. Support from Calderon and a few others in gangster/junkie roles don't do anything special but aren't bad per se and just fill out the space.
Overall this is a fairly formulaic 'drugs are bad' movie that goes just where you expect it to. The writing lacks any real invention and the direction doesn't have the style and flair that others who have tackled this subject usually try to have, but the cast work hard with what they are given and kept me watching even though I could have predicted every scene from 15 minutes onwards.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?