The thing about Ibogaine is that it is (according to this film) administered in a shamanic-like ritual, where new-age-y guides and medical professionals surround the subject. The idea is to create an experience that is not unlike what I would imagine a “spiritual journey” might be. We are told that for some, this is the miracle potion that finally and absolutely erases opioid cravings. Adrianne signs up; she is out of time and out of options.
Despite being a film centering on the horrors of opioid addiction (in Adrianne’s case, the opioid is heroin), Dosed is a remarkably respectful and tame documentary. Chandler and his cameraman Nicholas Meyers never sensationalize addiction. There are no egregious shots of junkies shooting up or clandestinely scoring drugs in dark alleyways). Instead, they adopt the viewpoint that, more than anything, they want to do what they can to help their friend.
“…opened up a fascinating area of study that I, for one, had no idea existed.”
While Dosed is an interesting and extremely well-produced film, it’s principal subject takes a little warming up to. Adrianne is tough, selfish, and has an air of desperation about her that is easy to mistake for haughtiness, but which we come to learn is simply her strength in her ongoing fight for survival. But Chandler ensures that we are on her side because he so steadfastly is.
Some of the expected documentary touches like the talking head interview, and hand-held camerawork is present, but there is not one interview subject that is not engaging. Most interviewees are doctors or psychologists (and one mycologist, which Wikipedia indicates is someone who studies fungi), who specialize in the study of hallucinogenics as they relate to therapy.
Besides being a document of Adrianne’s journey through opioid addiction, Dosed opened up a fascinating area of study that I, for one, had no idea existed. And isn’t that one of the things that documentary cinema is supposed to do?
"…to create an experience that is not unlike what I would imagine a “spiritual journey” might be."