HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
   
 
Newest Articles
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
   
 
  Drugstore Cowboy High And LowBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James LeGros, James Remar, Heather Graham, Max Perlich, William S. Burroughs, Grace Zabriskie, Beah Richards, George Catalano
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 4 votes)
Review: Bob Hughes (Matt Dillon) is a drug addict in 1970s America. He has a gang of accomplices who help him rob drugstores: his wife, Dianne (Kelly Lynch), his friend Rick (James LeGros), and Rick's naive girlfriend Nadine (Heather Graham). Their favourite trick is for Nadine to pretend to suffer an epileptic fit on the floor of the drugstore they've targeted while the others slip behind the counter and help themselves. But the junkie life is drawing in on Bob, and a bullish cop (James Remar) is out to catch him red-handed - things can't go on the way they have.

Have you ever been obsessed? So that you can't think about anything else during your waking moments? You go out, your obsession is on your mind, you stay home, it's still holding you in its grip? Drugstore Cowboy, scripted by the director Gus Van Sant and Daniel Yost from James Fogle's autobiographical book, is a tale of one man's experiences with his overwhelming passion, and this being a drug film it has become more than an addiction, it's a way of life. The film has no moral judgements to make, it accepts Bob's choices and tells the tale of his attempts to think about something else for a while.

The junkie lifestyle is dominated by getting high and staying high. Bob and his wife and friends make a pretty effective team in their own world of petty crime, but find their lives ruled by their personal superstitions. You don't mention dogs because Bob and Dianne once had a dog which led the police to their door, you never look at the reverse side of a mirror, and most of all, you never put a hat on a bed. Nadine mentions dogs and puts a thirty day hex on the group, meaning bad luck will follow.

But Nadine doesn't believe in the superstitions, and that is her downfall, especially when she puts a hat on the bed to spite Bob. One tragedy later, and Bob is seriously rethinking his ways. His mother (Grace Zabriskie) is of the opinion that Bob is an addict to avoid reponsibilities, and that's true to a point, but he has the selfish responsibility to keep high, which leads him into danger. It's more the coping with the mundanity of everyday existence that drives him on to more drugs, as Van Sant accentuates with closeups of ordinary objects like ticking wristwatches or lit cigarettes.

But when Bob kicks his habit, he finds the straight life isn't so bad, until his old ways and contacts catch up with him. This emphasis on the boredom of life and the bland acceptance of Bob's character threatens to render Drugstore Cowboy inconsequential, making the possibility that it's only your obsessions that are what keep you going seem very real. However, it's not without humour, although its muted colours imbue a subtle sense of melancholy.

Dillon's charismatic performance saves the film from listlessness as his drugs-based belief system throws up the odd item of philosophical insight. William S. Burroughs shows up in the last half hour, either as an awful warning as what a junkie's life leads to, or an example of a true survivor. Will Bob reach this level? The ending gives the impression that he will never escape his fixation, and he is at peace with that. However, if you're not interested in drugs, then this film could seem like a conversation with someone who's continually distracted. Nice to see a drugs film with no cold turkey sequence, incidentally. Music by Elliot Goldenthal.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8122 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Gus Van Sant  (1952 - )

Vaguely arty American director whose films rarely seem quite as satisfying as they should. Drugstore Cowboy remains his best effort, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues undoubtedly his worst. My Own Private Idaho, To Die For, Columbine shootings-based Elephant and Kurt Cobain-inspired Last Days have their fans, and Good Will Hunting was a big success, but the scene-for-scene Psycho remake must be his oddest venture. After a decade of experimentation, including desert trek oddity Gerry, he returned to the mainstream in 2008 with the award-winning biopic Milk then reverted to smaller projects once more, including biopic Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: