8 August 2004 | annie_4jeffy
hard-hitting, explosive and graphic, but spellbinding all the same
Junk, based on the book by Melvin Burgess
'Junk' is a hard-hitting tale of sex, drugs and most of all destruction. It focuses on a pair of teenage lovers who are on the run from their oppressive middle aged parents. This is a truly tragic film that certainly deserves acclaim separate from the usual light hearted, mildly entertaining selection of teen films that seem to rule young peoples cinema.
The realisation of the power of drugs hits you like a punch in the face. The tale is long, winding and powerful. Many have vowed to never pick up a needle such is the power of the writers intense portrayal of life on the streets and heroin users.
Having viewed such a compelling drama, it is hard to believe that none of it actually happened. It's like waking up from a strange dream.
Perhaps the fact it has happened, and continues to happen is the part that influences viewers in such a way. The characters are so real - the conflicts and the misery, the joy of their love for one another, and the 'flying' and the 'falling'. And you always end up falling. This is the clear message in this spellbinding film.
Every scene is hard-hitting, explosive and graphic. The horror you experience climaxes at the vision of a young addict spoon-feeding methadone to her new-born baby. It almost brings tears to ones eyes at the thought of how destructive heroin can be.
Television programmes like 'The Bill' or even documentation's on drugs can never really portray the effects of heroin on a young person like Burgess, the writer of the book that this film was based on, can and has. He has perfected this tale to an art.
Burgess, having lived in the area where the story was set, at the time the story was set, in the 1980's, makes the message is clear. It all boils down to; with drugs, there is never a happy ending.
And the book and film certainly proves this point. The characters are merely introverted and confused when the book comes to a slow end; not as dramatic, relieving or as happy as one might expect or hope. But it certainly doesn't disappoint.
This film may go over some young people's heads, but is advised for young teenagers who do not know much about the devastating power of drugs. It is eye opening and hopes to make teenagers more aware... In which it certainly succeeds. Nothing saddens me more than those who have never read such a magnificent book and live such tragically similar lives to the characters in the story, unaware or all-too aware of the dangers of living on the streets.