Wow. This is one hard-hitting movie and wonderfully shot. You think its all going to be just about heroin and drugs and a junkie’s life but it is so much more. There is another storyline which you rarely see in movies. Drug addiction of a second kind and with a character you wouldn’t expect.
The opening titles was done in a way that I found oddly inspirational [mean that I may do something similar if I eve fulfill my dream of film editing] and I don’t think I was the only one because The Queen did something similar. You have editing that cuts from a TV screen of a TV show which, in my opinion, borderlines being a cult, and a black screen with the cast and crews names on. The sound keeps going from the TV as the titles appear. It may sound a bit lame in words but visually, I just knew I was in for a treat! And I was! Like I mentioned before, I want to go into film editing and this film really opened my eyes with all the different things you can do with editing! To be honest, the editing [and cinematography] is so good that you could watch the film with no sound on and totally know what’s going on! Actually, now that I think about it, there isn’t much dialogue, compared to most films. I think the best films are the ones that need little dialogue. I great film is one that you can watch without speakers and still know what’s happening on the screen. There is one type of editing technique that is used quite often in this movie that I loved because it got what was happening across in about 5 seconds. it’s a technique some call a ‘hip-hop montage’. You have short clips that are fast forwarded or slow-motion and is just jump cuts from one small clip to another and you know exactly what’s happening. You know the mum has picked up the remote and put the TV on [once again, it sounds boring but it isn’t!] and you know they just shot up. I think its so amazing that you can move a story forward that would of normally taken another minute or two but only takes a few of seconds! it’s a very fast-paced movie and it works. You don’t want a movie like this to drag on. I read somewhere that ‘the average scene length shortens as the movie progresses (beginning around 90 seconds to two minutes)’. Now that I think back on the film, I can see what they mean and I think its just so brilliant! As the film progresses and their situations get worse, it makes sense to have the scenes shorter and shorter as this is what happens in montages. In montages, for dramatic effect, the clips get shorter and shorter and shorter until they’re just flickers of film and we reach the climax. Towards the end of this movie, the editing goes from one character to the next and quickens as their situations get worse and worse until we reach the climax and its suddenly very smooth editing, almost dreamlike. Obviously, this kind of editing wouldn’t work for all films but there are some editors out there who should take notes.
There are two other film-making techniques that I made notes off. Another editing one was the use of split screen. You get to see two points of view in one scene and in another scene, half the screen is in the present and the other half is either in the future or past, you can’t quite tell. I wonder why you hardly see the split-screen technique, you can get so much more across with it! There is, also, a camera technique that I’ve seen a few times in films and television shows which works so wonderfully and really draws the audience into the action or emotion; the Snorricam. The Snorricam is when the camera is attached to the actor’s chest and you see their face from a very personal angle. I love this technique because its so personal and therefore brings us all closer to the character and what they’re really feeling. It also heightens the feeling of panic. This technique is used a couple of times in this film, in different ways; for action and for emotion. Not many camera angles can cause those two depending on the actor.
There is one thing that I hate about drug movies and that is when you see the needle go into the arm. This film does it once and for that, I am grateful. You don’t need to show them shooting up, you just need to give the audience the idea that they’ve just shot up which is what the ‘hip-hop montages’ do. I’m a very squeamish girl so if you’re worried about blood and veins and stuff, you only need to close your eyes in one part. Actually, I’m pretty sure even a few males out there would cringe at the one part you see the needle because its just gross!
There are two storylines; the heroin one and the diet-pills one. You’d think the heroin one would be the worse one but not in this film. No way. The diet-pills are shown in such a severe light that you wouldn’t want to touch them ever [or ever again if you have]. The heroin is almost shown in a nice light compared to the diet-pills which is incredibly interesting. In the movie, I guess, the pills have a more… not permanent because in the heroin storyline, an arm is amputated and that‘s pretty damn permanent, but… you can live without an arm whereas the effects of the pills make you not able to actually live your life. I just found it incredibly thought provoking that they chose to show the pills worse than the heroin. I guess heroin is shown as the real ’baddy’ in the media and the pills get overshadowed. It will definitely make you think twice about those diet-pills.
There is soooo much more I could write about but unfortunately, time has made me cut the review short. I hope what I’ve told you is enough to make you watch this movie because it is a truly amazing movie that will leave you thinking about it for hours and learning new things not only about the world but maybe even about yourself. How would you react to these circumstances? Would you do what they did? How can you help?