Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Drugstore Cowboy

Gus Van Sant, a legend among directors, released Drugstore Cowboy as his second film. Much like his later films, Drugstore Cowboy is filmed from a perspective that is both unbiased and honest. He captures most qualities true of any drug addict. Matt Dillon, a largely underrated actor, proves worthy of stardom in this performance as leader of his posse of addicts. His character has found his niche -- something he is good at, something rare and daring that gave the others reason to turn to him for leadership, and in turn, feeding his obsessions. Dillon nailed this role and portrayed his character authentically in his best performance to date. 

The film debuted in 1989, long before the popular movies attributed to the lifestyle that comes attached to the life. Films like Blow (Depp), The Basketball Diaries (DiCaprio, Whalberg), Trainspotting, Requiem for a Dream are more popular among people today, largely because of the A-list stars and the latter two for its humor and its counterpart: the tragedy and darkness that follow degradation of one's self worth, morals, and purpose which are ends that any addiction will lead.

Drugstore Cowboy, shows its fair share of that very darkness that is always attached with addiction; however stands apart from those previously mentioned. The predecessors to Drugstore Cowboy seem to either glorify, condemn, or start with one and finish with the other in an attempts to depict the lifestyle associated with drugs and addiction. This film does neither. 

Blow, a movie about a cocaine cowboy, played by Johnny Depp and a cast full of addicted characters, aims its focus on the trade, and how it is just as, if not more addicting than the drugs. Diego, George Jung's (Depp) partner and brother, betrayed him at his earliest opportunity acquire controlling power and more money. Due to greed, he never be content.

This characteristic was present in Matt Dillon's character as well. He never had his fill. Moments after one score, he's scheming the next regardless of what the last  one's prize. His drug addicted wife even tries to get his attention through a seductive pursuit  for a few seconds but he couldn't stop thinking about the next and the next. He could have had an endless supply of drugs and it would still never be enough. His obsession was not fulfilled by drugs but the relentless and endless pursuit, a continuous chase and challenge of the next thrill.

By - John Shmuck

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