Unlike films such as “Trainspotting” and “Spun” where you can laugh and marvel at the characters’ over-the-top drug induced downfalls, “Most High” presents a look at the life of a man who, as he is presented from the beginning, is a kind, gentle person who lives to help others, but due to mounting shitty circumstances in his own life, ends up being sucked into the world of crystal meth. There’s nothing funny or cool going on here – it’s a fucking tragedy.
Abandoned by a drug addicted parent, Julius lives his adult life as a counselor at a clinic for the developmentally challenged. He excels at his job, but it’s all because he’s trying to plug a void he feels in his life. But when that plug is yanked, in the form of his girlfriend leaving him, his being dismissed from his job and the death of Jack, the man who raised him in the place of his real father, Julius is left grasping at…well…nothing, his security completely yanked from underneath him. Enter Erica, Jack’s estranged daughter with a penchant for powdering her nose if you catch my meaning. Julius foolishly falls for Erica and his void is filled once again – part sex, most drugs.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s that you’ve seen this all before. Addiction movies, drugs or otherwise, are in abundance out there. So what makes this one stand from the rest of the pack? A lot of it has to do with Marty Sader who plays our lost Julius. His performance is the key to making this whole film work. I see stories like the one presented here quite a bit – from the lowest of budgets to the most bloated Hollywood productions with varying levels of success. But how “Most High” succeeds where many others don’t is that you actually care about the main character in peril and this care isn’t simply established by a set of scenes of this character committing gag inducing acts of kindness, but rather by a unique performance of a character who you would actually love to know in real life and it’s a performance that you couldn’t imagine ending once the camera stops rolling. That’s the mission of every actor out there, but only a slim few accomplish. Marty Sader has accomplished that very feat as we watch him degrade from a healthy, caring human being to a rail-thin piece of filth rotting in the corner. It really is an amazing performance, but what’s more amazing is that Sader also co-wrote and directed this film.
“Most High” has the goods AND the exceptionally great…and I really can’t recall any bad. What I really appreciate is that this isn’t some lame After School Special, preaching to me about not jamming a straw up my nose. It presents its grim case and lets its audience figure things out. And any film that has people figuring things out for themselves these days has my full support.