A drug dealer with upscale clientele is having moral problems going about his daily deliveries. A reformed addict, he has never gotten over the wife that left him, and the couple that use him for deliveries worry about his mental well-being and his effectiveness at his job. Meanwhile someone is killing women in apparently drug-related incidents.Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Paul Schrader actually sent Willem Dafoe out to observe deals with a real drug dealer as training for this role. When Schrader asked Dafoe if anybody recognized him, Dafoe said he believed some did, but that they were afraid they would not get their drugs if they said anything. See more »
With Schrader it always comes back to this. Lonely nights and aimless wandering, always just a step short of being swallowed up in the abyss. But it's always the worst at the brink, where guilt starts eating up inside.
So a jazz ballad about lonely nights, this is what people probably call noir in this. About a man who has come a long, painful way to get nowhere, is tired and looking for his harbor. He's a drug dealer, so we get the awkward encounters in seemy places and travel through other people on the same way down as he has been before.
Sarandon is radiant, fierce but fragile, but this is Dafoe's show, it wouldn't have been the same without Dafoe. He's right inside the character, where the desperation piles up. See how his face lights up when Sarandon invites him to lunch, how he passes through peoples' lives without staying, as though time is running out.
Two instances reveal the betrayal (one involving sex and a madonna painting), both involving mirrors that lie. The reflections reveal people who don't have time to get involved, how everyone's strange when you're a stranger. See if you can spot them out.
It is ultimately about the working out of karma, and how our present hells have been long in the digging. Eventually he has to atone with the one thing he's running out of and can't spare, time.
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