2 July 2005 | ptb-8
"Saved" by the pill....
A famous quote by Pauline Kael about Greta Garbo was that "she was the complete reason to see a film". Well, let me tell ya, I will agree, astonishing even myself, that Maculay Culkin fits this description about PARTY MONSTER. Off screen for 9 years and making two excellent eye-popping returns (the sly wry and hilarious SAVED is the other) 23 year old Culkin is nothing more than front and center startling and compelling in this very clever club culture expose of the very real and very cruel pill bunny Michael Alig. Released clumsily on one print in Australia and off screen in 2 weeks, this film deserved smart marketing and even a reissue before DVD dumping because it has a potentially huge audience and major industry credit as a very difficult genre to re create successfully. I think PARTY MONSTER is a complete success in its serious efforts to capture the dance party scene of the 90s and the glittering bowel of its dark side. The performance by Seth Green is equally disturbingly funny, complete with effete rantings and flummoxed quips that leave the viewer smiling in admiration at his genuine talent. The look of PARTY MONSTER is almost as if Larry Cark re made "Studio 54" and got Bob Mackie to create the costumes. The art direction and costume design is especially perfect and adds hilariously to what is, I believe one of the most clever and nasty black comedies to emerge from the USA this century. Marilyn Manson as gigantic dopey drag queen Christina (geddit) is especially hilarious and shocking. If you have seen the equally brave and hilariously tragic HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and also read Roger Ebert's superbly written and accurate review of PARTY MONSTER then you will be well equipped to deliciously slurp up every frame of this - literally - sensational disco bloodbath. To say that the astonishing and entertaining performances of Culkin and Green are fearless is the understatement of the century. 20th or 21st! PARTY MONSTER is a major achievement.