Friday, June 15, 2007

My God, His Jaw Must Be Tired: Cocaine Angel at MOCA Jacksonville

"Cocaine Angel," the much-lauded feature film debut of director Michael Tully, written by (Jacksonville’s own) Damian Lahey, who also performs the lead role, was screened at MOCA Jacksonville, Wednesday night. The film had its U.S. premier at SXSW, and has been called a “minor masterpiece” by Indiewire.

Despite the pouring rain, there was standing-room-only in the museum’s small auditorium. The film is a gossamer study of a week in the life of a derelict cokehead, Scott (Lahey). From his crack-whore girlfriend, Mary, to the daughter who is always thrilled to see him, it strives to be a Chekhovian study and falls just short.

It is a glimpse into the lives of people generally discounted as they walk down the street–though limping along with a bandaged, unshod foot and a fifth of whisky generally doesn’t do too much to inspire interest beyond disgust. Shot through a haze that captures the heat and grimness of a Jacksonville summer, heightening the boredom, poverty, and squalor in which Scott et. al. live.

Unlike other drug tales, there is no glamour or beauty to the lives Scott and Mary lead. But there is unexpected beauty in the story, when Scott, high and in need of reassurance talks to himself in the mirror, then kisses it twice, or when after recounting how she scored some cash and ended up with cigarette burns in her ass, Mary says. “Nah, it kinda’ tickled, I was high.”

The drama–inserted for texture and good measure–is where the film falters. It becomes a little too melodramatic and tedious towards the end–presented by people the viewer really has no reason to care about. Ultimately the best part of the film, and the reason to see it, is Lahey’s performance as a decent–along the line of, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king–cokehead, struggling not towards redemption, but his next fix.


Mark Creegan said...

woohoo! I am the first commentatery person!

Really well written Madeleine! It does make me wanna go see it! I love flix bout crackheads-it reminds me of my youth! (Just kidding future employer trolling the internets for stuff about me;)

Did i mention I am the first commentational guy on yer blog?!


nat said...

Congrats from one of your biggest fans. Words are your here's to your staying OUT of literary rehab.

I look forward to more of your voice Urban Art Guide.

Byron said...

Hi there,

I found you. Awesome. glad to see it.
Definetly makes me want to go see it. Sucks I didn't. really enjoy your writing style. you have good grammar and all. amazing! really.

Are you a member of
The reason I thought you could add a link was I thought you were. Shoot me you email and I'll send you an invite to this is the type of writing I'd love to read on there once a week or whenever.

So maybe if you do something brilliant here and would want to post it over on too it would be cool.

i was hoping it could just be a community arts blog. the idea is that everyone is an administrator. everyone owns it sort of thing.

glad you are down with the concept. it was really fun talking to all of you and walking through the concept until we got something everyone was cool with.

look forward to seeing it come to fruition.



madeleine said...

Thank you all for your kind words. And now for a little insight:

"All writers are to some extent egotistical: they desire to seem clever, to be talked about and admired, and to be remembered after their death." --Orwell

true that.