Sunday, October 9, 2011

Clean and Sober

A hotshot yuppie embezzles $95,000 from his employer and wakes up to find the girl he picked up dead from a cocaine overdose. Needing a place to hide out, he takes refuge in a detox clinic, where he doesn't even remotely begin to remotely face his own addictions. Soon with the help of a hard nosed counselor and an ardent AA sponsor, he takes the leap and begins the arduous trek towards recovery. "Clean and Sober" is essentially divided into three stages, Addiction, Rehab, and Recovery, and for the first to it is an unrelenting look at dependency. The third segment pulls back slightly, though still tenacious, and introduces a romance angle which isn't entirely successful. The film is centered on an extraordinary, unsung performance from Michael Keaton, who manages to be simultaneously repugnant and sympathetic, takes major risks, and pulls them off wonderfully. There are also two great supporting performances in the film from Morgan Freeman (was that guy ever young?) as the counselor and M. Emmet Walsh as the sponsor. Many films about addiction and recovery are soft served fairy tales where the addict returns to his supporting family and friends and patched up work environment. "Clean and Sober" is a harsh and realistic viewpoints not only of addiction but the road to recovery as well.