This is the kind of movie that idiots will say to me, "Mark, you've got to see Spun, it's your kind of film. It's crazy, really crazy, I just know it's your kind of movie."
Spun tries to be about a 3-day speed binge by a variegated group of tweaks, from user to dealer to cook to nice Jewish guy.
Of all the extreme drug-induced emotions, I'm amazed by how few film makers have been able to express paranoia, particularly speed-induced paranoia. The only near-success that I can think of is Henry Hill's coke-overdose paranoia at the end of Goodfellas. But speed paranoia is an entirely different matter from coke, and it usually involves staying indoors, obsessiveness combined with forgetfulness, and visual, aural and insect-crawling hallucinations.
To Spun director Jonas Akerlund, speed is merely a drug which has not yet been exhausted in indy film, and therefore might make him famous as "the director who did the seminal speed movie." Spun wants to be that seminal speed film. But Akerland has a problem: he don't know speed from shinola. The proof that he's an ignorant fraud is so obvious that it literally made me cringe. Every time one of his heroes snorts a line, we are shown the snorter's pupils after the speed kicks in (which is wrongly shown as immediately) -- and the pupils SHRINK rather than DILATE!
Now if you're doing a seminal indy film about speed, and every single time you show the tweaks' pupils shrinking to a pinhole (which is what happens when you take smack) rather than dilating (which is what happens when you take amphetamines), you've just put yourself in a category right up there with Reefer Madness in terms of how laughably ignorant you are about your subject drug. For true tweaks, Spun will be merely a movie of ironic amusement, not, as Hollywood.com noted (along with many others), "the most potent anti-drug movie ever." In fact, if this is an anti-drug movie of any kind, it's an anti-marijuana movie, because I assume Akerlund must have baked hard to have made such a glaringly stupid error.
Akerlund is a moron, and every single second of this film screams his idiocy. Lots of quick-cuts and zany fish-eye lens shots are supposed to give a sense of what it feels like to be speeded out and paranoid. All you do is get a sense that Akerlund should be filming a bottled iced-tea commercial, not an indy film about speed.
Akerlund is no stranger to lame commercial adulteration of real, raw underground culture. He made his name directing the videos for Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up," a far finer work than Spun, as well as Madonna's "Music." Pretty fringy, ain't he.
The only decent thing about this movie is Mickey Rourke, who plays a recognizably horrible, mean speed cooker/hick, although Akerlund eventually even manages to fuck up Rourke's character by putting him in lame Terry Gilliam-esque absurd cooking outfits and filming him in fake-weird fish-eye lens.
This movie would be a blasphemy to the eXile's sacred spice, Our Holy Speed, but it's so poorly done in an unintentionally comic way that we won't even waste our bile on it.
Three Colonel Klinks. This movie is di-i-i-i-smissed!
AGENT CODY BANKS
I have a hunch that your typical left-of-center Beigeist in America would take a movie with a plot like Agent Cody Banks -- about a pre-pubescent CIA agent trying to overcome his shyness and save the country at the same time by working as a spy -- as a terrifying example of America's increasing fascism.