3 November 1999 | Hermit C-2
Interesting look at a familiar subject.
As several reviews of this film noted, the story of a middle-class person seduced by drugs has been done quite a lot lately. That in itself is not a fault. This movie manages to bring its own perspective to the subject and will hold a viewer's interest.
The main character, Angel (Michael Imperioli), works for some kind of a financial business, but at a pretty low level. He keeps a journal that is extensively quoted from by way of narration. This is a useful device, and not one used solely to make the job of advancing the narrative easier. Through it one gains insight into how easy it is for a person to rationalize selling and using illegal drugs. He tells himself at first that he deserves the money that selling crack brings in. He needs it to provide a good life for his wife and two children. Other people take shortcuts; it's the way of the world. Why shouldn't he? Later he rationalizes the desire to get high, as more and more of his profits go up in smoke. Then he rationalizes crawling headfirst into the crack pipe.
Angel manages to keep a semblance of normal life for some time, but as the desire to get high takes precedent over everything else and as he uses up the almost inexhaustible supply of love given by his wife (Mira Sorvino), the inevitable bottom is finally hit. This movie is commendable in that its main purpose isn't just to see how graphically the squalor of junkie culture can be depicted, though there is plenty of that by the time the film ends. Most frightening is what happens to a friend of Angel's named Raymond (Paul Calderon). While Angel is only concerned with using and getting money to supply his habit, Raymond stays in the business end, becoming a monster capable of any cruelty to protect his own interests. It's a far cry from the buddies we see at the beginning of the film, jubilant over the birth of Angel's second child.
The story was based on journals found in an empty New York apartment. 'Sweet Nothing' mat not be a groundbreaker, but it is a very worthwhile film that makes a niche for itself in a familiar genre.