Review by Jude Felton
When you think of the films directed by Adam Mason, you probably think of dark horror movies such as Broken, the excellent Blood River or even the one take tour de force, Pig. You probably aren’t thinking comedy, yet this is exactly what his latest directorial outing is, although this isn’t your typical comedy. Instead, Junkie is a comedy with a black heart and a very twisted sense of humor. Better buckle up, because this ride will mess with your head.
Set almost entirely in one location, that being the house of Danny and his brother Nicky, Junkie follows a day in the life of the titular junkie. Well, it could actually be a day in the life of two junkies; Danny, who is trying to get clean, and Nicky, who just wants another hit.
Junkie starts off with Nicky (Robert LaSardo) trying to persuade Danny (Daniel Louis Rivas) to hit up his contacts to score some drugs. This is despite the fact that it is first thing in the morning, and no self-respecting drug dealer is up at this time. So begins a chain reaction of events that takes Danny and Nicky to some very strange places, and meeting some even stranger characters. All is not what it initially seems in Junkie, and even if you figure out what is going on, it will still take you on a wild and crazy ride.
I will admit to thinking that the film did take a while for me to warm up to it, with the opening ten minutes or so seeming to struggle to find its feet. However, after this, Junkie does hit the floor running with some truly absurd, funny, outrageous and bloody moments. It’s comedy that requires a delightfully sick sense of humor, without having to resort to gross-out gags or anything overtly offensive. In fact it is actually more of a result of the cracking banter between Danny and Nicky, with LaSardo being an absolute maniac as the heavily tattooed brother in need.
In this it is where Junkie’s real strength lays; the script and performances from the cast. All of the cast, aside from being lunatics, are spot on their marks. LaSardo and Rivas carry the majority of the weight of the film, and are in just about every scene, but also a manic performance from the ever impressive Andrew Howard, and a more subdued appearance from Mason regular, Tess Panzer, all deliver the goods. I could mention everyone, but I think you get the point; they are all terrific.
A cast is only as good as the script they are given though, and here Mason and frequent collaborator Simon Boyes deliver a good one. It’s blunt and surreal, crude and funny, and somehow they manage to shoehorn Charles Manson into it; not a mention of him, but he is one of the characters here.
If you’ve seen Blood River, and you should, you will know that Mason can create a damned good looking movie. In Junkie he has managed to capture the squalor of a junkie’s house perfectly and, even though the film takes place almost entirely here, succeeds in given the visuals plenty of depth and variety.
Self-financed by Rivas, who also serves as Producer, and his partner, Junkie is terrific film. I’m sure it isn’t going to push everyone’s buttons, due to the nature of some of the black humor and absurdity that goes along with it, but for those that want something with a nice kick to it, Junkie should hit the mark. It’s certainly not a predictable movie, and if you have seen Mason’s earlier movies you would not be expecting one.
I thought Junkie was terrific, it slowly sucked me into its web and I ended up enjoying the hell out of it.
Junkie is currently seeking distribution but you can check out the film's Official Site here.