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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.67%
Worth A Look: 9.84%
Just Average: 1.64%
Pretty Crappy: 27.87%

4 reviews, 37 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"It makes a life of rampant drug-use look strangely unappealing"
2 stars

If "Spun" has a point -- and I am not entirely certain it does -- it is that doing meth totally screws you up. I don't dispute this, and it's a point worth making. The trouble is, "Spun" seems more intent on giving us a day-in-the-life presentation of some speed freaks and their wacky hijinks than actually telling us anything about them. The characters are ciphers, and their actions are meaningless. This planet has atmosphere, but no life.

Jason Schwartzman, miles from "Rushmore," plays Ross, a junkie whose dealer, Spider Mike (John Leguizamo), loses his goods, possibly when they fell out of his pocket on the way to the liquor store. (Such are the occupational hazards of speed dealers.) One of Mike's other customers, Nikki (Brittany Murphy), suggests she and Ross go right to the source: the Cook (Mickey Rourke), who makes the meth in a motel room.

Soon Ross is Cook's chauffeur, delivery boy and gofer, working in exchange for free fixes. His life didn't have much to it before -- mostly ducking calls from someone named Amy, who wants the money she lent him, and hanging out at strip clubs -- but now it's fully occupied by his duties for Cook. He even neglects the stripper he has tied to his bed, for a rather long period of time.

Why does he tie her to the bed? And why doesn't he untie her and let her leave before he goes to work? Because he's on speed, man! I guess that's why, anyway; the movie presents it with a rather whimsical attitude, despite the horror of it, and gives no explanations or excuses.

The film also is mum on why we have to see Mena Suvari, who plays Mike's hygienically challenged girlfriend, sit on the toilet, and why there is even an inside-the-pot view of her doings. And why must Mike call a phone sex line, and why must we watch what ensues on his end of the phone call?

Is it all because drugs degrade you and make you awful? Fair enough. But a movie this tongue-in-cheek can't turn around and expect us to take its wallowing in filth to mean it's a cautionary tale. At least "Requiem for a Dream," which this film was obviously inspired by, had the good sense to take drugs seriously.

There is also a subplot with yet another of Mike's customers, Frisbee (Patrick Fugit), who gets busted by two cops (Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette) and has to help them put a sting on Mike. These cops are part of a "Cops"-style TV show, and the performances by Stormare and Arquette are embarrassingly over-the-top. They comprise the only part of the film that I think was made while the filmmakers were actually on drugs, though it seems more like marijuana than speed.

If you see "Spun," you will not be surprised to learn that its director and editor, Jonas Akerlund, is a music-video veteran. He employs that choppy style that often complements a film's content by making the viewer feel the way the characters do. Here, though, it only serves to remind us that we have no idea how the characters are feeling, because they don't even seem like real people.

The writers, Will De Los Santos and Creighton Vero, claim to have based the film on their own experiences with meth cooks and addicts in Oregon. They have probably captured the EVENTS with accuracy. But they have failed to capture the PEOPLE involved. We don't care about any of them, and by the time their lives are being resolved, or screwed up for good, we're just bored.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7223&reviewer=247
originally posted: 04/17/04 19:45:46
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/11/11 vanessa belize 2 stars
7/05/08 Jason Strickland Wants to be an independent film...it's, um, ok 3 stars
3/19/08 KaneR This movie is messed up, but in a good and entertaining way. 5 stars
10/18/07 Josh "Miles" Davis Parry, you poor joker, it's good if you realize that it's a comedy and not an anti-drug msg 4 stars
10/18/05 Douglas Reese One of 2003's best movies with terrific performances by Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy! 5 stars
9/16/05 Z Chloe Hunter=hot, this movie=shit 1 stars
7/28/05 Timor Waldo great film which offers a lot of insight on the nature of meth 5 stars
6/23/05 Stinky Cheeze Yes it is dire.Yes it is disgusting.So's life.It doesn't have to be uplifting.Get over it. 4 stars
5/11/05 stu completly dissapointing. 2 stars
2/08/05 Jeff Anderson WHAT A GREAT CAST! WHAT A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! Leguizamo gives the best performance. TRASH! 1 stars
12/19/04 albert plays better if you're stoned 4 stars
11/10/04 Brandon Crow This movie is the best moive i had seen in a year, i love speed and wathcing this movie 5 stars
10/31/04 MyGreenBed Typical "drugs as art" crap done poorly. Tries desperately to be what it is not, edgy. 1 stars
10/06/04 Sfj This is the first drug specific movie Iíve seen about Meth users. It would be as easy to s 2 stars
8/20/04 Dan Hobbs How much more idiotic can they get? 1 stars
7/23/04 Jurko the Great Realistic!! 5 stars
7/11/04 ViSionS Either you get it or you don't. 4 stars
5/06/04 tatum Perhaps the most annoying film ever made 1 stars
4/28/04 i seen this movie cranked up and loved it :D 8====D 5 stars
4/13/04 David G Superb movie. Lovely eye-candy and a touching story. 5 stars
4/06/04 Verra Jones This film was about all the use of Christy Brown's right foot 2 stars
2/29/04 Dlove I liked this movie, and I think these critics are very closed minded! 4 stars
2/24/04 Justin Hester great movie about todays drug culture 5 stars
1/21/04 Nathan I was pleasently surprised by all of the characters' realism and tragic poignancy 5 stars
1/13/04 Helius A stunning film about the horrors of drug use...yeah, "Requiem for a Dream" rocked. 1 stars
11/27/03 alex stupid comfortable teen drug movie wh great performances 2 stars
10/01/03 emily holland this movie is really true 5 stars
9/11/03 Kooler "oh boo hoo, mena took a shit! I'm frightened and confused!" Christ, go rent Shrek. 5 stars
7/28/03 greensweater you have to shoot crank to fully enjoy this film 1 stars
7/25/03 .Choadushouse. One of the worst pieces of garbage ever. How bout you rip of Requiem F.a. Dream a litl more 1 stars
7/24/03 Get A Sense of Humor Well shot, written and directed. Get a sense of Humor you corroded old widows. 5 stars
7/04/03 Richard Stroker Right on... this film blew.... self-indulgent crap for the MTV generation passed off as art 1 stars
4/08/03 Fonq35 This is the kind stinking shit that prevents really daring filmamkers from being heard. 1 stars
4/03/03 Uncle Salty Wow, another drug movie, except this one is AWFUL! 1 stars
3/31/03 Balthazar This movie is a cheap ripoff of Trainspotting (get an original idea, Akerlund, you loser) 1 stars
3/25/03 Bluto McBlurt I walked out after an hour. Glad I missed the toilet scene. 1 stars
3/12/03 Rob Utterly Captivating. 4 stars
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  14-Mar-2003 (R)
  DVD: 22-Jul-2003



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