Curtis’s Charm

To say that John L’Ecuyer’s lovely black-and-white, 16-millimeter adaptation of an autobiographical story by Jim Carroll (1995) is incomparably better than the movie version of The Basketball Diaries unfortunately isn’t saying very much. Better to say that it’s sweeter, warmer, sharper, and filled with more human understanding than Trainspotting as it deals with a comparable portrait of friends going in and out of drug addiction, this time within the lower reaches of New York City. Atom Egoyan and Patricia Rozema served as executive producers, and the performances of Maurice Dean Witt as a crackhead who thinks that his wife and mother-in-law are casting voodoo spells on him and Callum Keith Rennie as the friend who tries to talk him through his fantasy are highly charismatic as well as letter-perfect. Carroll, incidentally, likes this movie himself, and it isn’t hard to see why. (JR)

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