This is a drug film.

Yep. That’s about all I can say. The plot wasn’t really that interesting… in fact it was meandering and haphazard: but then I guess that was the point. There are some fantastic drug trip moments in Spun (speed appears to be the drug of choice for much of the film), although at no point does the film seem to condone the use of drugs. There may be a couple of laugh-worthy moments, but in the long run there is nothing glamorous about this film.

It’s easy to see that all of the cast were dying to do a film where they could revel in being UGLY. Everyone in this film is exceedingly un-pretty, from regular uglies Peter Stormare and Mickey Rourke to American Beauty herself, Mena Suvari. Honestly, they are so disgusting. Really, really ugly.

Mickey Rourke is fantastic. (I have to admit it actually took me ten minutes or so to recognise him.) I always seem to forget that Rourke is actually quite an accomplished actor (after all he was in the fantastic Angel Heart), and here he truly gets to shine, even if he seems to be a 300 years old dude in cowboy boots.

There is some great editing, especially at the beginning where we are subjected to lots of frantic cuts to close-ups, making us all feel a little high… that is, disoriented and paranoid, rather than comfortably euphoric.

The film did shock in some parts, but I was never really sure what was supposed to be funny and what was supposed to be disturbing. Then again I’m sure the film was designed to be watched whilst high.

Rating: 2 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 6th May 2004
Hoopla Factor: 2 stars

Volcano High American Splendor