Permanent Midnight Reviews
Usually I give no credence to people who say that a protagonist needs to be "likable." No, s/he doesn't have to be likable; s/he has to be interesting. But after watching Permanent Midnight, I can at least see an example of why likable protagonists make storytelling a little easier.
Jerry Stahl, as played by Ben Stiller, is a morose heroin addict who does anything to get his fix. Unlike other depictions of addiction, Permanent Midnight doesn't romanticize any aspect of Stahl's life, and as a result, there's nothing to like about him. I'm left wondering why people like him or want to hire him for anything. Sandra, Stahl's wife, comes off as a dull, blind idiot, as portrayed by the film. Because we in the audience can see no redeemable quality in Stahl and because the film's characters don't point out anything unique about him, it's easy to give up on his plight.
Stiller does play a convincing dramatic part, but he fails to lend his natural good humor to this character.
Overall, there's nothing new about heroin addiction or Hollywood in this film, but it did teach me a little something about whether or not I should dismiss most of what is said in a creative writing workshop.
Ben Stiller gives an atrociously nonchalant, smirky performance as the drug addict. A couple of female characters stand around in the background with absolutely nothing to say. Owen Wilson also appears every now and again with nothing to say.
I imagine that the memoir upon which the film is based has some value. My guess is that the film version fell apart not because the book was so bad but because the project fell into the hands of first-time director David Veloz, who not surprisingly has never done another film.
Veloz just seemed to have no idea how to handle material like this. Perhaps he was trying to do something radical by approaching it tongue-in-cheek. But it is a colossal failure.
Permanent Midnight is a true story that follows the maniacal period of writer Jerry Stahl's life led in double form. Making $5,000 a week is definitely an amount to be defined as "doing well," except for when there's a simultaneous $6,000 a week drug habit that's chasing you around town putting your life on the bench. The film's story is focused on his double life, balancing his job writing for hit sitcoms and a green card induced marriage to British wife Sandra (Elizabeth Hurley) while shooting heroin all day. It's exhausting just to watch, and painful at the same time but yet you'll find yourself unable to look away because of the depth and intricacy of this train wreck. The building momentum of his chaotic addiction reaches such intense heights, that by the time he shoots heroin into his neck while sitting next to his baby in the car, you'll be tested on just how far into the envelope you can be pushed.
Ben Stiller is not one to go hand in hand with serious roles in most minds, but his work and talent portraying his real life friend Jerry Stahl is shockingly gripping, it's difficult to decide which has more strength and potency, the drugs or Stiller's acting.
The one move by the director that I always felt awkward around was the constant shifting back and forth between the story and Stahl (Stiller) telling it to a ex-addict named Kitty in a hotel room. This wouldn't be so rough of a transition if the scenes in the hotel room were shot well and the chemistry was fluid, but sadly enough neither is true.
This is by no means the first movie of an addict suffering through his days, but it is one that takes a unique and effective stride with characters that have some unique flare and incredibly strong acting by Stiller. Showing the dark and horrible sides of addiction, Permanent Midnight is chock full of grit, gritty themes, and depravity, and stands above most films of this nature.
illustrating up to 20 shots along the way! The life of Jerry Stahl might not be given that correctly, against the rush this is,
getting hooked on his devastating habbit and acting all worked up, constantly, this is still acurate all together. But don't expect a good biopic.
Just scrape one or more of the extremely offending and unapropriate behavior. The need for his shot is highly exclamated! Ben realy gets his groove on, real speedfreak but also certainly physically. Owen Wilson does a slight stand-by, mostly to keep the joy in these actually horrible situations.
The only assurance we get is the fact that he's telling this story when he's kicked, trying to create trust with this girl.
It's mostly demented and outrageous. Certainly catching are the several hits he does, kindly shown very well, as a red thread through party's,
meetings and everyday life. It reaches certain limits, for example when he meets this guy after signing in for rehab
and eventually the point whereafter he sees the need to change.
Still they manage to give it more lighty, translated in nice, steady tragic comedy.Ideal! (well, only a few can relive life after these kind of trips)