Union Square (2004)


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Movie Info

This documentary from Stephen J. Szklarski follows seven junkies through their daily routine -- get money, find heroin, buy heroin, shoot heroin, repeat as needed -- in the recently renovated Union Square neighborhood in New York City. There's the heavily pierced and tattooed Stealth, who ran away from home at 9-years-old; Cheyenne, whose visiting rights with her daughter were recently revoked; Danny, whose family has a long, sordid history of substance abuse; and Ron, who hails from the elite Madison Avenue and is still struggling to keep up appearances. Rounding out the group are Cheyenne's boyfriend Mike, who stubbornly insists that playing his guitar on the street will be his only method of getting cash, and James, who is trying to cope with the dishonesty involved in scoring drugs. As the young addicts travel from one public bathroom to another for a quick hit (some of them need up to ten a day just to avoid convulsions), their candidness and unabashed desperation reveals a deeply troubling glimpse inside the ravages of heroin and offers an equally disturbing peek into the bureaucracy of finding a rehabilitation clinic when you're young, poor, and addicted in New York.

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Critic Reviews for Union Square

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8)

There are few surprises in Mary Tobler and Savoca's script as it progresses, but the director has always shown skill at accessing the inner lives of women.

Sep 19, 2011 | Full Review…

The film attempts to affect an air of dispassionate objectivity, but generally comes across as an exercise in exploitation.

Jun 24, 2004 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Without a well-delineated political or social framework, Union Square offers little that we didn't already know from, say, The Panic in Needle Park or Christiane F.

Jun 23, 2004 | Full Review…

To most New Yorkers, the street addicts they encounter daily are nameless and faceless, and Union Square helps to humanize them.

May 28, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

A moving film but not, to be frank, an entirely memorable one.

May 28, 2004 | Rating: 2/4

Stephen J. Szklarski's video documentary tracks the lives of seven young drug addicts who live in and around Union Square Park in Manhattan.

May 27, 2004 | Rating: 2/5

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