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NEW YORK CITY, 1968 Max Bornstein had the wit, looks and charm that would carry him beyond the typical man's troubles. He was untouchable... Yet the typical man's troubles were the least of Max's worries: He was a full-time dope fiend and a part-time father working within the underground, highly illegal pornography industry. Written by
Let's call this what it is: a drug movie, and not a very good one
There is a lot to misconstrue about Addiction: A '60s Love Story. From the poster and the synopsis, it looks like it could be a luridly fun '60s porno docudrama --- it isn't. It might be a convincing, heart-rending, somewhat seedy love story. Nah, it's not that either. Ah yes, the word Addiction in the title. It's a drug film. Yep.
We've all seen drug films, haven't we? We know the arc. Lost (usually young and pretty) soul searching for a place to simultaneously hide from responsibility and find themselves. They get a taste of the good life and then everything goes to hell. It can be involving when done right, which is why people still make drug movies. And this one is TRUE, on top of everything.
But it's still not an interesting story.
Max Bornstein was not really "in the pornography business" --- he drove a delivery truck for the porn mongers and gangsters who really WERE in the porn business. That's kind of like the kid who mows Michael Corleone's lawn claiming that he's in the mob with Luca Brazzi and Sonny. OK, so maybe what Bornstein DID is not important. Maybe it's his personal journey and the hell his family went through. Maybe that could garner some interest. Well, not really. The characters of Max's wife and kids aren't really fleshed out enough to be interesting and so there isn't any real way to get mileage out of that.
So what are we left with? Basically a lot of shooting up/passing out scenes coupled with special effects that are overwrought at best (this isn't a creature feature), nauseating and ridiculous at worst. But in all fairness, gross-out effects aren't my thing. I hated Cronenberg's Naked Lunch for the same reasons. But Tate Steinsiek isn't Cronenberg and Bornstein is certainly not Burroughs.
It's a shame that it strands Ian Harding in the lead role. He's actually quite good as Bornstein and reminiscent of a young Mark Ruffalo at times. Carol Kane is fine as always in a small role and there are many other decent New York actors here like Brendan Sexton and Michael Badalucco. But they're saddled with a really average vehicle here, an ultra-low budget, and only massive talent behind the camera can lift it off the ground. Sadly, that doesn't happen here.
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