HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
   
 
Newest Articles
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
   
 
  Born to Win Heroin Screws You Up
Year: 1971
Director: Ivan Passer
Stars: George Segal, Karen Black, Paula Prentiss, Jay Fletcher, Hector Elizondo, Robert De Niro, Ed Madsen, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Irving Selbst, Tim Pelt, Jose Perez, Burt Young
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: J (George Segal) was a full time hairdresser, but now he's a full time junkie, roaming the streets of New York City looking for his next fix. With his friend Billy Dynamite (Jay Fletcher) he's trying a new scheme as he pretends that he's been sent to collect a safe, and manages to fool the cashier into letting them take it, but the cashier's boss soon realises what's going on and chases after them just as the cops arrive, meaning J and Billy leave the safe behind as they flee. J is reduced to trying the handles of parked cars to find one which is open, and when he does, he's attempting to start the vehicle with a ring of skeleton keys when its owner Parm (Karen Black) arrives...

Well, there's an ironic title for a start. Written by director Ivan Passer and David Scott Milton and named after the tattoo J has on his arm, Born to Win was a prime example of the realism that had become fashionable in the cinema of the early seventies, where actors and directors could get their hands dirty in the name of being as convincing as possible, portraying characters in various stages of suffering. And what a lot of suffering J has to endure, most of it brought down on his own head as the addiction clouds his brain and only lets him see as far as his next fix, which means a lot of petty crime is on the cards.

Being a hippy child of the sixties just as the times change to the bleaker seventies, Parm is very accomodating towards J, giving him the car keys and letting him drive her back to her apartment, where they spend the night. This hospitality doesn't stop J from going through her stuff looking for items to steal and sell, nevertheless. Parm is an interesting character, obviously excited by J's criminality and the perverse glamour of his addiction, and looking for a bit of stimulation through her association with him, but we never learn anything much about her beyond her deepening relationship with J, who has mixed feelings about her.

The film is pretty grim for the most part, apparently shot in a palette that includes every shade of grey they could find, but there are flashes of humour. Although not a likeable man, J's predicament is nonetheless involving probably due to Segal's skill as an actor bringing out his essential charisma to mix with his near-constant failure (and brave stunts like running along the street in nothing but a fluffy pink dressing gown help). That said, Segal doesn't pile on the charm, and it's blatant that he will never escape his doomed life - you don't need to see the ending to know that. But scenes which feature him trapped in a tumble dryer by the cops, or flashing a woman on the opposite balcony to get her attention and hope she will call the police are pretty funny.

J gets into real trouble when he is caught between his dealer, the sinister Vivian (Hector Elizondo) and the ever-threatening undercover cops (including a young and energetic Robert De Niro) who want him to assist them with their enquiries, i.e. to set up Vivian. This being a drugs film, there is the regulation cold turkey sequence, this time on a beach with the sea before him as grey as the city streets he has temporarily left behind, but it doesn't last long. Soon, despite Parm's help, J is back looking for more heroin. The plot may ramble, and Paula Prentiss as J's ex wife, also a junkie, may not give us much insight into his previous life (has he always been this much of a loser?), but Born to Win is a well crafted slice of life, slice of lowlife in fact, without offering any startling revelations. Excellent, very much of the era, music by William S. Fisher.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4402 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
  Lee Fiveash
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: