When it's over, downward spiral best described this film. I found it dark and disturbing, but pointless. The film was divided in two parts. The first part was about drugs and getting high. The second part was about suicide, to do or not to do. It was well photographed, and the performances were top-notch, but all of that was wasted on a story that doesn't really deliver a meaningful message. The message I got was that suicide is the answer if your life is spiraling downwards. Come on...really? I have nothing against films that depict reality in a gruesome manner, but to do it in a way that offers no sense of hope or self-realization just doesn't appeal to me. I don't feel I've missed the point of the film. In fact, digging deeper into the plot, I got the mid-life crisis thing; I got the "I've made mistakes" thing; I got the 'keep your promise' thing, but what I didn't get was the necessity to glamorize or glorify the characters' reckless actions. I spent two hours watching four 40-something best friends (Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay) on an annual reunion drown themselves into oblivion with drugs, alcohol, self-pity, and a promise they made decades earlier. I struggled with the first half as I patiently watched what felt like an endless punk music video. When the music subsided, the characters were still stoned, but the story finally began to take form. An hour into the film was simply too long to set up a first act. There was a good soundtrack, but over amplified. I think Director Mark Pellington intended for the music to represent the clutter and disillusionment in characters' minds, which was effective, but too much just became noise. Again, the performances were great, as I really believed the four men were being sucked into their own black holes. The character back stories were well presented, and I got a sense of who they were and why they felt as if they were crashing. The film made the characters into martyrs, (when what they really were was cowards) and that sends a negative message, even though it may mirror real life.
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