The Austin Chronicle

Live From SXSW's Screening Room

By Peter Debruge, March 14, 2003, Screens


D: Jonas Åkerlund; with Jason Schwartzman, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Patrick Fugit, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke.

Narrative Feature Midnighter, Regional Premiere There's no better way to experience writer Will De Los Santos' ostensibly autobiographical speed-freak odyssey than catching it midway through a week of sleepless film-festival excess. Should you happen to nod off, then jerk your head back abruptly in your somnambulistic stupor, you'll only enhance the movie's spastic sense of life glimpsed through the wide-open eyes of a tweaker (Schwartzman). In the hands of music-video director Jonas Åkerlund, the trip is visually exhausting and morally depraved. In fact, all involved seem to pride themselves on how far they're willing to go on-camera -- Mickey Rourke plucks out his false front teeth, Mena Suvari enjoys a long-overdue bowel movement, and John Leguizamo masturbates with nothing but a sock to cover his cock. All this while drugs change hands, the cops close in, and everybody bugs out. The whole in-your-face affair might best be called "Requiem for a Good Night's Sleep," since the frenzy won't end until all the characters get their rest (and one ends up toast). (Westgate, 3/15, 10pm)

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