"So what. I mean everybody's fucked up. Nobody wants anyone to think they are, but everyone knows anyway"--Tommy (Steve Buscemi)
Trees Lounge is a unique sort of character study, in that it doesn't necessarily revolve around one specific theme, but instead focuses on a culmination of them, including alcoholism, loneliness, angst, and sets it in a believable world. Buscemi does a great job as both the lead actor, and as a director. I appreciated how the film incorporated the characters, and gave us relatable situations, while still maintaining a sense of humor, albeit a dark one. In that way the writing is strong, having an authentic feel for character dynamics. This is helped by the strong supporting cast, notable Chloe Sevigny, who plays a convincing adrift teenager, hopeless infatuated with the equally lost Buscemi.
I thought the story itself could have used more back-story, however. We never fully got an appreciation for why exactly Tommy ended up the way he did, and so we never relate to his character arc, or lack thereof, in as meaningful way as one would hope. The same can be said of the other story-lines as well. However, taken together, the story-lines do complement each other well. Ultimately, the film depicts its world well, we get a strong feel for the sort of hopelessness and confusion that pervades in it, while at the same time staying engaged with its enjoyable charm.
Overall, it's a strong, finely acted, indie drama, with some interesting things to say.