- Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
- Writer: Sam Taylor-Johnson; James Frey; Aaron Taylor-Johnson
- Producer: Pamela Abdy; Alex Heineman; Andrew Rona
The main problem with this film is that it is based on a supposedly factual book...that book proved to be just a litany of lies. So...why would anyone buy the rights to something so bogus!?! It doesn't make sense...lining the pocket of a liar! This had 'avoid like the plague' written all over it.
The other problem is...Aaron Taylor-Johnson, obviously thinking this was going to be his star vehicle...he parades around in the buff showing off his [mighty fine] body...looking nothing like the knocking-on-death's-door drug addict he supposed to be!
As you would expect, in this rehab unit, all the usual suspects are present. From the worldly-wise-and-weary to the nubile nymphet to the empathetic, tough-talking psychologist...in other words: No surprises. The gay/bisexual character is toxic...he will - quite literally - make your skin crawl.
Drug dramas are ten-a-penny...the ones that standout, become memorable, are those that dig deeper than the rest. Sam Taylor-Johnson approached the subject at sea-level and only went for a paddle rather than diving in. There are a couple of eye-watering set-pieces that are designed to shock [and, they do]...but, actually feeling anything for 'James Frey' [and his lies] is asking too much without giving anything significant in return. As predictable as it is...the potential to address the controversy surrounding the deceit [by the author] was an opportunity to to be missed. The filmmakers missed it!
All in all, it's an unnecessary adaptation of a book that ought not to have been adapted.
A young drug-addled writer approaching the bottom of his descent submits to two months of agonizing detox at a treatment center in Minnesota.