A man (Scott Bryan) experiences one of the strangest weeks of his life after his girlfriend (Rebekah Wiggins) dumps him due to his nonstop drinking. Stumbling through an alcoholic haze, our drunk, glib and sarcastic, interacts with a number of odd individuals as he tries to cope and forget his ex.
Phillip Hughes’ feature film, Drunk., takes a look at one man’s steady alcoholic decline. The humor is silly, and the situations that our drunk finds himself in are more curious and awkward than dangerous and disturbing. This isn’t the dark indie drama where he deals with the consequences of his alcoholism; this is the strange indie comedy where the consequences are just off-putting enough to make him pause when he reaches for the next drink, but not necessarily rough enough to actually stop him cold.
Which can make for a curious experience, especially when you consider that this is a guy who probably would have no qualms about driving his car, despite being so loaded he can barely walk. Is his severe problem with alcohol something we should really be laughing at, let alone with? Attaching a pillow to his head to protect himself from when he inevitably passes out isn’t amusing so much as pretty sad and pathetic.
And that’s the line the film is trying to straddle; at what point is what you’re watching entertaining and humorous, and when is it just a tragic trainwreck? Can it be both? I think that answer will be different for anyone who watches the film. Some might see the experience sobering, though you question if the drunk in the middle of the film ever gets to that point.
On the filmmaking side of things, the visuals can be a bit dark at times; the film seems to almost exist in a permanent fog but, considering other stylistic choices throughout, the darker aspects might be aesthetic choices as opposed to an insufficiency of lighting. You could convince me in either direction. As far as the edit goes, the film moves at the right pace and rhythm, so no issues there.
In the end, whether you do or don’t embrace the film might come down to what you think is funny, or what you think is allowed to be funny. Myself, I saw the film as more of a surreal journey that offers truths about alcoholism while masking itself in a dry goofiness. It never gets too dark; our main character is approaching bottom, but I don’t think he hits it. He’s not a hero by any means, and I don’t think the takeaway is that the film glorifies his alcoholism; he is severely flawed and damaged, and if he doesn’t pull out of this tail spin, things will get worse.
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