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Spun (2002) Movie Review
Ross (Jason Schwartzman) is out of control; his girlfriend has moved to the city leaving him alone with his speed habit and a lot of twitchy associates. When he visits Spider Mike (John Leguizamo) to make a score he ends up giving Nikki (Brittany Murphy) a ride home to her boyfriend, The Cook (Mickey Rourke), who just happens to be Spider Mikes supplier. Ross agrees to help Nikki and The Cook out by driving them wherever they need to go. Strap yourself in for a wild journey through a city’s underbelly which changes all of those involved forever.
There is an obvious comparison to be made between Spun and Requiem for a Dream (2000),another movie that takes a look at drug use, abuse and its consequences, but Spun is has an overall lighter tone. While it does have depressing moments, mostly because of the wasted to young lives on showcase, there are enough comedy moments to counter and the ending is much gentler than Requiem; it leaves some hope at least. Be warned thought, there are some graphic scenes of drug use/abuse in Spun so if that sort of thing offends you then keep your distance; drug taking is not glamorized in this movie as most of the characters are tragic and disturbed, some of them living in impoverished surroundings.
Schwartzman’s portrayal of Ross is convincing; he gets into increasingly absurd situations due to excess and sleep deprivation, with some effective use of animation to illustrate his mental state. Brittney Murphy’s character, Nikki, is ditsy and highly strung but ultimately likable; there’s a hint of tragedy there too but that may be because of the knowledge of her recent death. It’s always sad to see a young life cut short. Rourke as The Cook is by turns cool and irascible; in control of his minions as he produces his next batch. The (usually) pretty Mena Suvari plays Cookie, who is particularly gross in her crustiness; a job well done by her and all concerned.
Spun is a funny and, at times, tragic look at a lifestyle most people will never experience; for this reason alone it should be watched. Be thankful that you’re looking at it from the comfort of your armchair.