[box cover]

Spun: Unrated Edition

Near rock bottom, crystal meth addict Ross (Jason Schwartzman) either takes it lower or hits the jackpot when he makes the acquaintance of Nikki (2002 "It" girl Brittany Murphy), whose boyfriend is known as The Cook (Mickey Rourke) and who will give Ross free drugs if he acts as their chauffeur. Along the way he hangs out with other meth addicts like dealer Spider Mike (John Leguizamo), his girlfriend Cookie (Mena Suvari), and hanger-on Frisbee (Patrick Fugit), while Ross pines for the ex-girlfriend he keeps calling. A portrait of life as a meth addict, music video director Jonas Åkerlund's first big-screen effort deserves some credit for the accomplishment. For a film about drug abuse, it's nice to see one that doesn't act like an Old Testament verse about the damned; no character is inherently doomed for trying the stuff or being addicted, which prevents the film from comes across as trying to teach the audience something important. Also (as this writer has been informed), it captures the experience of being on meth and the sleepless, confused nature of the experience through its quick editing and stylish imagery — though it draws much from 2000's similar Requiem for a Dream. The drawback of making a film about drug addicts, though, is that one gets the feeling if you saw someone who was addicted to the stuff, you'd want to cross the street; as such, none of the characters here are particularly compelling. Spun is made palatable solely because it's always fun to watch talented actors play "scummy" roles, where prepwork means getting fake tattoos and greasing up hair. Schwartzman is fine as the unsympathetic lead, while Brittany Murphy is surprisingly not annoying — though she joins the dubious class of starlets who take a role as a stripper, does a strip routine, yet refuses to take off her clothes. The heart of the movie is Mickey Rourke, and it's always nice to see him get character work as he makes the most of his sleepy-eyed and drawling chemist. There's also some fun players in the supporting cast, with Deborah Harry showing up as Ross's butch neighbor, Peter Stormare and Alexis Arquette as methed-out cops, and Eric Roberts as the transvestite funder of Rourke's dealings (reuniting the two actors for the first time since Pope of Greenwich Village). Columbia TriStar presents Spun in both R-rated and unrated releases with an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Only the unrated edition features any supplements, and there are quite a few: two commentaries, one by director Åkerlund and screenwriter Crieghton Vero, the second with screenwriter Will Santos and producer Timothy Wayne Peternel. Also include are five cut scenes, a music video, trailers for this and other films, and two TV spots, one hosted by Mickey Rourke. Keep-case.

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