Monday, July 4, 2016

Movie review: Less Than Zero

Returning home from his freshman year at college Clay finds his ex-girlfriend, Blair, now in a relationship with his ex-best-friend, Julian. But their chaotic relationship based on clubs, parties, and cocaine may destroy them all.

Andrew McCarthy (Clay), Jamie Gertz (Blair), Robert Downey Jr. (Julian), James Spader (Rip), Tony Bill (Bradford), Nicholas Pryor (Benjamin), Donna Mitchell (Elaine), Michael Bowen (Hop), Sarah Buxton (Markie).

Less Than Zero doesn't waste much time on background or plot setup, instead jumping straight to the story and character development. When Clay returns home at the behest of ex-girlfriend Blair, he finds she is involved in a cocaine fueled roller-coaster relationship with his ex-best-friend Julian. The remainder of the film could almost be a public service message against drug use, paired with an exploration of Hollywood trust-fund brats. Though showing some age, the film moves along pretty well and the story is entertaining.

Acting was pretty good here, despite the main players being quite young. McCarthy fit his role well, despite his character not quite making sense at times. Gertz was entertaining, fit her role nicely, and it was amusing to watch her neckline jump around throughout the film. Downey put a lot of energy into his role, which he pulled off very well. Spader was good in a role that would become a staple of his career. The remainder of the cast was solid.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds are all representative 80's standards with solid sets that felt expensive, and simple direct camera work. Action scenes are realistic and well done throughout. Dialogue is a bit campy at times but overall good and moved the plot along. Sound was good, and the 80's soundtrack was enjoyable.

Although Less Than Zero is beginning to show some age, the story remains enjoyable as does acting and technical work. Fans of 80's films or the main cast should enjoy this one.

With some sexuality, violence and blood, foul language, drug use including withdrawals, this should be fine for older teens and above.

Released: 1987
Reviewed: 6.26.16
Star rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: Drama, Crime Drama, Movies based on books

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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