I caught this film while attending the New York International Film Festival and found it quite insightful and honest. Documentaries in the past have had difficulty broaching the subject of addiction, subsequently because of the point of view that the addicted is taken from. In Coming Clean, the views are shared by the narrator a "recovering" addict, slices of lives beguiled in an urban slum of crack addiction, and Paul's ex fiancé. The contrasts are palpable. Paul (the narrator) has no connection to the harsh streets of a Brooklyn ghetto. Yet a thin line of similar is seen and made more and more broad as his addiction bare the similarities that make each interview have it's own shared secret between the otherworldly Paul and the people he encounters. The documentary takes a different approach because it's void of; therapists, psychoanalysts, and law enforcement. It breaks down the true experience of addicts as they see it with analytical insight coming from only the family friends and loved ones that are directly effected. The film internalizes through the narrator who actually falls into a relapse well before the end. The audience is taken to two different places. Not just Hong Kong and New York, but also from going along with Paul as our tour guide into what addiction is, then being tossed aside like another betrayed member of Paul's life looking in, trying to analyze him. We have had affinity for the bad guy before but I don't believe the issue of broken self trust and a addict's masochism has been made so clearly by watching a man stand so confident in defiance of a past life to only fall so quickly back. From stories of shear horror, to those of thought provoking heartbreak the view takes emotions on a dark ride that may help more than most other films to understand why the supply has it's demand, and especially where hubris place a fundamentally crucial part on what it is to recover from addiction.
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