Section: Elements of Crime
Directed by: Alkinos Tsilmidos
Dir.: Alkinos Tsilimidos
Romantically entwined heroin addicts Em (Laura Gordon) and Jay (Nick Barkla) may not be at rock bottom, but they could see it from where they live if they bothered to look. Raising drug money by having sex for a well-heeled voyeur may be degrading, but it's having to pawn and re-pawn their TV set that seems to be what bothers the duo most. Too entranced by their heroin habit and too enmeshed with each other to consider moving on, the pair start robbing convenience stores. The heists are a mutual aphrodisiac, but while Em sees this as a career move to help build a solid foundation for their shared future. Jay thrives on the adrenalin and the temporary power of wielding a weapon.
Tragic consequences are inevitable, but the pic adroitly maintains the suspense of when and if the couple's breaking point will come and whether that will be for ill or good. Helmer repeatedly begins scenes with one protagonist slumped motionless, playing on the audience's expectations of overdose and jabbing into the narrative a frequent reminder of how close to death the couple live. Working class atmosphere eschews the cliched idea of smart people who could have done better with their lives, instead emphasizing the humanity of all addicts. This latest entry in a glut of junkie pics hits the nervous system harder than previous more polished efforts Little Fish and Candy. (Russel Edwards)
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