Adapted from James Fogle's novel, the broad strokes of the plot are simple enough; a junkie foursome led by Dillon's headstrong Bob, move around the Pacific Northwest in the early 70s scoring pharmaceutical drugs in a series of robberies. The finer details, created with the sense of family developing between the principals, and how they are not portrayed as either victims or "bad" criminals. Van Sant occasionally slips into the surreal depicting Bob's drug-addled thinking like a James Bond title sequence, along with a questionable in-joke cameo with Williams S Burroughs, dish out advice and temptation to Bob. In one simple way, it's little more than a road movie. Yet on another level there's a cautionary tale of the life of a junkie that has relevance well beyond the film's timeframe.
On the DVD: A stereo track and a grainy print in 1.85:1 usually does a movie little favours, but here they add to the overall gritty atmosphere surprisingly well. The only extra is unfortunately the original trailer. --Paul Tonks
(THE FILM):This film so real, its scary. This gripping film about a family of drug thieves is based on a novel by convicted drug robber, a man who knows his subject well. Read morePublished on 30 Mar. 2012 by S. F. husseiny