Spun

"OK"

Spun Review


An entertaining but hideous romp on the circus side of crystal meth addiction, "Spun" wants to be another "Trainspotting" and/or "Requiem for a Dream." Inundated with trip-cam trickery that keeps the audience riding the ups and downs of the main character's drug buzzes, the film is nothing if not stylish, but falls short for lack of depth.

Music video guru and first-time feature director Jonas Akerlund makes liberal use of the disorienting, grainy, washed-out look of bleach-bypass photography. When Ross -- a downward-spiraling college dropout (played by Jason Schwartzman of "Rushmore" fame) on the leading edge of addiction but still clinging to his letter-jacket memories -- takes a hit of speed, the movie's tempo is fed a brief burst of shaky acceleration. A rapid montage of sensory-assault, nervous-tension images dance across the screen, sometimes in the form of cinematic hyper-awareness (e.g., fish-eye lens ultra-close-ups of chapped lips, bloodshot eyes and nervous-ticking fingers), sometimes in the form of animated, soddenly pornographic hallucinations.

The world of "Spun" is an acutely realized day-lit underground of ghetto shacks and combustible meth labs in cheap, airless hotel rooms (greatly enhanced by a hip-trippy score from the Smashing Pumpkin's Billy Corgan) in which all the characters seem acquiescently ensnared.

Relatively new to this world and strapped for drug money, Ross becomes a courier for a meth-maker called The Cook (pitch-perfect Mickey Rourke taking full advantage of his menacing, ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet image). He drops off drugs and chauffeurs the guy's bubbly stripper girlfriend (Brittany Murphy, "8 Mile") in his rattletrap jalopy of a dying, rusty Volvo in exchange for free junk.

But while its crafty (if derivative) style is effectively, often entertainingly transporting, "Spun" is too weightless and superficial to measure up against the films it apes.

Few consequences of drug addiction or criminal behavior are portrayed short of Ross being busted by cartoonishly overzealous cops (Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette) with addictions of their own -- one of whom lays his mugging on so thick he ruins every scene he's in. Purely for shock value Akerlund relishes in TMI (too much information) incidental storytelling -- "Spun" wouldn't have suffered any without the scene of John Leguizamo (as Schwartzman's volatile, paranoid dealer) masturbating or the punchline close-up of an unflushed toilet bowl. And sans such moments, the picture's protracted, post-climax chapter would have come a littler sooner and might not have felt like waiting for the other shoe to drop (a feeling that is never satisfied).

"Spun" has a cool cast of hopped-up cats with crazy nicknames (Spider Mike, Cookie, Frisbee) well-played by the likes of Leguizamo, Mena Suvari ("American Beauty") as Leguizamo's badly strung-out girlfriend, and Patrick Fugit ("Almost Famous") as a pimple-encrusted teenage hanger-on at least as addicted to video games as he is to drugs. And Schwartzman's off-kilter hyperactivity is perfect for his starring role as an on-edge tweaker seeking chemical escape.

If only Akerlund weren't so unabashedly self-aware and so casually flippant about his subject matter, "Spun" could have had some meaning beyond just being a clowning, three-ring drug trip for the terminally hip but lucid.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th February 2003

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Budget: $2M

Distributed by: Newmarket Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ross, as The Cook, as Nikki, as Spider Mike, as April Love, as Frisbee, as Cookie, as The Man, as Giggles, as Escort, as Angel, as Amy, as Fat Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.