At the beginning of a nightly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Jim seems particularly troubled. His sponsor encourages him to talk that night, the first time in seven months, so he does - and leaves the meeting right after. As Jim wanders the night, searching for some solace in his old stomping grounds, bars and parks where he bought drugs, the meeting goes on, and we hear the stories of survivors and addicts - some, like Louis, who claim to have wandered in looking for choir practice, who don't call themselves alcoholic, and others, like Joseph, whose drinking almost caused the death of his child - as they talk about their lives at the meeting. —Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
"Drunks" is a satisfying glimpse into an AA meeting. The setting is realistic; it takes place in what appears to be a basement room of a church - there is coffee, cigarette smoking, and people who are on the edge. The movie's strength resides in its incredibly gifted cast: Diane Wiest (a particularly superb, understated performance to which we've become accustomed), Harold Robbins, Jr.,(you can feel his tension), Spaulding Grey (the ultimate humorist), Amanda Plummer (fantastic), Sam Rockwell (who is, unfortunately, underutilized). Also giving nice turns are Calista Flockhart (not yet marked with the Ally McBeal imprint) and Faye Dunaway (whose rich, deep voice resonates as ever). And, of course, there's Richard Lewis, who effectively applies his ample, frenetic energy in a bold, dramatic direction as a recovering alcoholic who takes a nose-dive off the wagon. We watch as Lewis's partners from AA, worried about his sobriety, try in vain to contact him. Meanwile, the movie turns it focus to the other characters attending the meeting. Some may be of the opinion that this movie should have allowed the main characters more time to develop their personal stories. However, not all people who attend an AA meeting say that much - or actively participate at all. While this was disappointing in the sense that one is left wanting more screen time from such capable actors, the writer and director maintained the veracity of the subject matter. "Drunks" provides the viewer with a realistic depiction of addiction as a symptom of "inner demons." The characters whose lives we get to peek into share this manifestation of the pain they carry deep inside, but their monologues shows us that the reasons for their pain are unique. Unlike, "Days of Wine and Roses," where the plot revolves around how just two characters play off of each other, "Drunks" uses short vignettes - almost like headlines - to punctuate a multitude of perspectives on the same disease.
- Dec 26, 2005
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